First Boeing 747-400 Heads for Retirement

By Paul Riegler on 9 September 2015
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A Delta 747-400 at John F. Kennedy International Airport

A Delta 747-400 at John F. Kennedy International Airport

Delta Air Lines will operate the final commercial flight of the first Boeing 747-400 aircraft Wednesday.  The 747, carrying tail number N661US, was delivered to Northwest Airlines, which was later acquired by Delta, in 1989.

The Queen of the Skies will fly from Honolulu International Airport to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  After landing, the jumbo jet will retire at the recently reopened and expanded Delta Flight Museum at Atlanta’s airport.

Last July, Delta announced plans to begin retiring its fleet of 747-400s and 25%, or four aircraft, were removed from service in 2014.

The 747-400 was Boeing’s best-selling model of the 747 and came with a modern glass cockpit that obviated the need for a flight engineer.  It offered greater range thanks to more fuel-efficient engines and also came with a new interior.

A total of 694 Boeing 747-400s were produced in the period 1988 through 2005.  Major customers for the plane included British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, and United Airlines.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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