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Photos: JAL Retires Last 777-200ER

An inside look as the airline retired its last Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.

Japan Airlines (JAL) retired its final remaining Boeing 777-200ER aircraft from scheduled service in December. As one of the early adopters of Boeing’s 777, JAL has used the aircraft type for both short and long-haul operations.

The airline has phased out its 777-200ER fleet in recent years, as newer Airbus A350-900 aircraft come online to backfill the carrier’s high-capacity domestic operations. Back in May, the airline retired its second-to-last 777-200ER aircraft JA701J, according to AeroTime.

Data from ch-aviation shows that JAL began operating the 777-200ER variant in 2002 before phasing them out in 2020. Before retirement, the Japanese carrier had 26 777-200 aircraft in its fleet, most of which were over 20 years old.

JAL also maintains a fleet of 13 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, which serve long-haul markets. These are also set to be replaced by the airline’s new ‘flagship’ A350-1000.

Final 777-200ER Retirement

The airline kept one 777-200ER flying, which is registered as JA703J. The nearly 21-year-old aircraft operated its final revenue flight in November from Okinawa, Japan to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport as JL916.

On December 12, 2023, the airline ferried JA703J from its Haneda base to Los Angeles. Joined by specially selected aviation enthusiasts onboard, the aircraft was met with fanfare on both ends of the retirement trip. Later, the aircraft was ferried to a storage facility in Victorville, Calif.

JAL 777 First Officer Yugo Aita – who organized the charter flight from Haneda to LAX on Dec. 12 – commented on the aircraft’s significance to his career. “…I was really happy to fly on our main fleet, [The] 777, which is the biggest and the most powerful airplane in JAL, [it] took me to my first international long-haul flight…”

“Seeing JA703J / 777-200ER last landing in VCV, I felt a bit sad since she’ll never fly again with JAL’s passengers, however, I also felt relieved that we could say thank you to her at the very last moment with so many crew and fans,” Aita added.

AirlineGeeks was invited to participate in the retirement events in California. Also a part of the experience was a visit to Mojave where JAL has several of its jets in storage.

Editor’s Note: All photos provided by AirlineGeeks’ Katie Zera. 

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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