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July 14th, 2018 by admin

Cathay Pacific’s last Boeing 747 jumbo jet makes final flight

Cathay Pacific’s last jumbo jet has made its final flight. The luxurious upper deck of an early Cathay jumbo jet.
Nanjing Night Net

A Cathay Pacific jumbo jet flight heads in for a landing at the old Hong Kong Airport, a famously spectacular path that flew between apartment blocks.

Cathay Pacific has bid farewell to its “queen of the skies” after the airline’s last Boeing 747 jumbo jet made its final flight.

The plane took off from Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Saturday to fly into Hong Kong for the last time.

Cathay had been flying 747s since 1979, when the introduction of the double-decker jumbo jet allowed the airline to fly much further distances and carry more than 400 passengers – double what the aircraft it replaced, the Boeing 707, could carry.

The airline chose Australia as its first destination for the iconic jet, with the first flight to Sydney, via Melbourne, taking off in August 1979. At its peak, the airline operated 32 jumbo jets on routes from Hong Kong to Europe, the US, Australia and more.

“The 747 fundamentally changed the way people were able to travel,” said Cathay Pacific general manager operations Mark Hoey, a former chief pilot of the 747. “Being able to carry more people for far greater distances than before meant the 747 effectively shrunk the planet.

The larger aircraft wasn’t just popular with passengers – cabin crew also loved it.

Cathay Pacific inflight service manager Monica Tong, who estimates she worked on more than 1000 747 flights, said the jumbo jet made travelling more fun.

“The size of the aircraft helped build camaraderie between the crew – we flew in a bigger group and on longer routes, which meant we spent more time together and got to learn more about each other,” she said.

The final official Cathay Pacific jumbo jet flight to Australia took place in 2005, but a one-off return flight occurred in 2013 after a 747 replaced an Airbus A330 for operational reasons.

Cathay said the economics of the 747 no longer work for the airline, which has replaced its jumbos with newer Boeing 777 and Airbus A350s. This may not be the best news for passengers, with the South-China Morning Post reporting Cathay may soon increased the number of seats on its 777s to 10 across, in a 3-4-3 layout seen on many other characters. This will see the width of seats reduced by 1.5 inches (3.8cm).

See: On board Cathay’s Airbus A350

The 747 has fallen out of favour worldwide since the introduction of the rival Airbus A380 superjumbo, the world’s biggest airliner, and more efficient jets such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the A350. Sales of the latest version of the jumbo, the 747-8 launched in 2011, have been slow.

In fact, Boeing is reportedly considering ceasing production of the 747 entirely in the near future. The most recent passenger version of the plane (cargo 747s are also common) has suffered from poor sales compared to other aircraft.

In another sign that the era of the jumbo jet is coming to a close, the Boeing engineer behind the development of the original 747, Joe Sutter, died in in August, aged 95.

See also: Airbus A350 or Boeing Dreamliner: Which new plane rules long-haul?

See also: Airline review: Cathay Pacific business class

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.