Thursday, 11 April 2013

Boeing 747-400 Faded Queen of the Skies


 Well, it definitely comes to something when the once Iconic Queen of the Skies, finds herself being shunned for other planes, like the Boeing 777, the Dreamliner and the A380. The once much relied upon 747s are finding themselves being sent to the breakers yard to be dismantled for scrap and parts.Value of ten year old 747s are at a record low of $36 million, ten percent below a similarly aged planes - that was last year, but it's quite a depreciation. Singapore Airlines found this out to their cost when they got a lot less for their last 747 when they sold it. The sale price inflicted a noticeable loss on their balance sheet. Companies would rather sell the planes than convert them to freight carriers, because of the drop in freight traffic. Japan airlines doesn't use 747s anymore, and other far eastern airlines are beginning to follow suit.
Other airline operators including Cathay Pacific Airways, Korean Air Lines, and Malaysian Airline System are following suit to help counter jet fuel prices. They have gone up thirty percent on two years. Like I said before, it's all about the bottom line. Airline executives reason that in the face of more fuel efficient planes, it doesn't make any sense to keep old fuel guzzlers like the 747 flying.
Cathay Pacific is getting rid of twenty one of it's fleet of 747s - as fast as it can. Nine will be axed through 2014 in favour of Boeing 777s for long haul flights;they will also be ordering the newer larger 747-8s for freight, which are larger and more fuel efficient - but no more 747s! As mentioned previously, it's all about the maths. An Airbus A380 will burn 1,181 barrels of jet fuel flying from London to Kuala Lumpur. The 747 will burn 999 barrels of fuel to carry 359 passengers the same journey.It's sad but true. And thus the Queen of the skies finds herself booted off her throne;fortunately for another of her stable mates, mainly the Dreamliner, but also the A380. It is still the case, that airlines which still rely on 747-400 series are left at a disadvantage with regards to fuel economies and the lack of prestige, according to Mr Wong of QUBSF(Quantas Airways). It was him who said ''It takes an A380 to beat an A380.''
I'm sorry, your faded majesty.
My initial query, was what British Airways thought they were doing, buying so many Dreamliners at once, which left me thinking 'are you crazy?' and 'WHY?'
I'll give the final part of this article over to the rationale of Willie Walsh, the head of International Airlines Group. British Airways will retire the last of its 747s in ten years time.Of the Boeing 747 he says,
"It's a great aircraft. Customers love it,"the chief executive of BA's parent, International Consolidated Airlines Group comments.
"We could replace some of them with 777-300ERs, which we are doing, but we are not looking to replace all of them." British Airways has since placed an order for twelve Airbus A380s, which will be delivered next year.
It strikes me NOW that as I look through my kitchen window, and watch the Boeing 747-400s banking to the right to connect to the flight path that leads them to Heathrow, that I am looking at an endangered species flying inexorably to extinction. I must admit to being a bit heartbroken here at My research seems to suggest, that airlines are pushing these fading Queens of the Sky off the nearest cliffs asap in the name of the bottom line and fuel economy. How very, very sad. Indeed, the end of an era is nigh for the once iconic 'Queen of the Sky'.

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A380 taking off