Delta to Begin to Retire Boeing 747s

By Paul Riegler on 31 July 2014
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A Delta 747-400 at John F. Kennedy International Airport

A Delta 747 at John F. Kennedy International Airport

Delta Air Lines announced plans to retire 25% of its 747 fleet in 2014.  The Atlanta-based airline currently operates 16 747-400 aircraft.  The decision was announced in a memo to its pilots on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Delta separately announced significant cutbacks to its Pacific operations.

Citing a “a re-evaluation of options to improve our international performance,” Delta said it has made the “decision to retire three 747-400 aircraft by the end of September, and an additional 747 before the end of the year.”

The airline stated that its analysis had made it clear it needed to re-gauge some capacity, primarily to help improve the Pacific entity’s performance.”  It also said that it planned to release more details about its overall Asia-Pacific strategy later this week.

Delta’s 747 jumbo jets can hold a total of 376 passengers.  This includes 48 seats in business, 14 of which are on the upper deck, 42 seats in Economy Comfort, the airline’s premium economy light section, and 286 standard coach seats.

The first 747 went into service in 1970 with launch customer Pan Am.  Delta was a 747 operator in the early 1970s as well, and retired the jumbo jets in 1976.  It acquired its current fleet of 747s following its merger with Northwest Airlines in the first decade of the 21st century.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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