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A China Airlines Cargo 747 (Photo: Pieter van Marion from Netherlands [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

China Airlines Set to Retire Boeing 747-400 Fleet

After being served over 45 years, Taiwan-based China Airlines will host a scenic flight to celebrate the retirement of the Queen of the Skies in February. The airline also mentioned that the retirement will finish the transition from Boeing 747-400s to its Airbus A350 fleet.

China Airlines had its first Boeing 747-400 in 1975 and owned 19 of the type in total over the years. Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900 aircraft have taken over airline’s long-haul services. The remaining four 747-400 mainly serve Okinawa, Japan and Shanghai and Guangzhou, China. They are expected to retire in the first quarter of the year.

China Airlines will cooperate with Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture as the scenic flight CI2747 – with registration B-18215 – could fly to Mount Fuji, Japan for aerial viewing on Feb. 6. The farewell flight is expected to bring 350 passengers to the skies and the whole journey will take approximately five hours and forty minutes. The airfare of CI2747 will be TWD7470 ($265) for the economy class and TWD9747 ($347) on the first floor and TWD10747 ($383) on the second floor for business class.

CI2747 features Japanese cuisine and the passengers will be given souvenirs, such as a 747-400 model and flying certificate.  B-18215 was the final 747-400 that Boeing delivered to China Airlines in April 2005. Though its passenger 747-400s will be retired, China Airlines will still own a cargo fleet of 18 Boeing 747-400 freighters; its cargo services became the main income source during the pandemic.

Taiwanese people are familiar with the scenic flights. Taiwan has successfully contained the spread of Covid-19 since the pandemic began. Last summer, Taiwanese passengers were desperate to travel as airlines introduced the so-called “mini travel,” bringing people back to the skies and also getting the extra income to stay afloat.

The pandemic is far from over even though vaccines are being rolled out. Lunar New Year is in February and supposed to be a traditional travel peak season. However, the travel restriction showed no sign of abating as Taiwan’s aviation industry remains uncertain. Last month, Singapore, a country that has contained the virus successfully, has granted quarantine-free to the visitors from Taiwan, however passengers must self-isolated on their return for 14 days. According to the local media, Taiwan is trying to reach travel bubble agreement with Palau and Guam as well. Palau has recorded zero cases thus far.

Earlier, EVA Air sacked a pilot who broke the airline’s coronavirus protocol as he refused to wear a face mask in the cockpit. He was believed to transmit the virus to a Taiwanese woman as the first domestic case in 253 days in Taiwan. EVA Air issued an apology statement to the public.

Will Lee
Will Lee
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