Stories by Manu Venkat

SENIOR CORRESPONDENT - NEW YORK, NY. Manu got his private pilot license in high school, setting the tone for his interest in all things aviation. He earned his frequent flyer credentials working as a journalist, and is now a medical resident in New York City. He enjoys writing about air travel from a millennial's perspective.

http://www.airlinereporter.com
Air France A380

This is a continuation of our COVID fleet retirement series, where we tap our archive to commemorate the planes that retired early because of COVID. In our first installment of the series we said goodbye to the Queen of the Skies, the Boeing 747-400. In this story, we stick with the “4 engines 4 long haul” theme but switch gears from Boeing to Airbus.

With fewer people flying, plus the increasing use of fuel-efficient two-engine long-haul planes in airline fleets, older quad-engine planes are dropping like flies. No surprise, then that a number of airlines retired their Airbus A340 and A380s fleets. The A380 is a unique behemoth, the largest and arguably most-comfortable passenger plane around. And its older sister, the elegant A340, has captured AvGeeks eyes and hearts around the world.

Read on as we take a stroll down memory lane as we say goodbye to a few A340 and A380s.

The last United Boeing 747 sitting at SFO

There used to be a lot of fanfare when airlines retired their flagship subfleets. But thanks to COVID craziness, carriers are sunsetting aircraft types left right and center. To celebrate these newly retired planes, we’re compiling stories we’ve written on some of these recently-retired fleets, and it made sense to start with the queen herself: the Boeing 747-400.

It has been over 30 years since the first 747-400 took flight — an eternity in the fast-moving aviation world. The Queen of the Skies was still going strong with a few airlines coming into the year 2020. But there was no doubt that when airlines started retiring planes, the 747-400 would be first in line to go. Four-engine planes are less fuel efficient than dual-engine types like the Boeing 777 or Airbus A350. And most of the 747-400s flying are pretty old. A few airlines like Delta and United had already retired the type. But this year a few others joined them thanks to COVID.

Let’s send the recently retired 747 fleets of four major airlines — Qantas, BA, Virgin Atlantic, and KLM — off into the sunset in style. Read on for a recap of our favorite stories flying on those airlines’ 747s!