United has announced that it will phase out the Queen Of The Sky from their fleet by the end of 2017, versus original plans that had the 747 staying in the fleet until the end of 2018.
The remaining 747s are now all based in San Francisco where UA maintains most of the 747 maintenance facilities. The last United 747 left Chicago for good on January 3 as part of the fleet consolidation to SFO.
From last count, there are 20 of them left and they’ll be phased out during the course of this year as new planes are delivered to United.
Primary drivers for the decision include maintenance expense, fuel consumption, and new aircraft that are joining the fleet. There is also a new FAA maintenance directive that was announced the same day that United said the fleet would be retired a year earlier than expected. No doubt the expenses surrounding the directive played a role in the decision as well.
Regardless, United’s recent introduction of the 777-300 and the ongoing success of the 787 fleet, UA deemed it was time to move on to newer and better. Lets not forget the long list of A350s that UA has on order as well.
None of this comes as a surprise obviously as the newer aircraft with their improved efficiencies make the 747-400 all but a dinosaur in today’s airline world. Since being introduced to United in 1970, the 747 has been nothing but a wonderful and reliable workhorse.
Fortunately for us avgeek types, we still have the 747-8i to enjoy for the next couple of decades!
This Saturday, October 29, Lufthansa will be broadcasting via Facebook the retirement ceremonies surrounding the last 737 in the fleet.
Her last day of work is scheduled to be on October 29th with a few roundtrip flights from Frankfurt. As of now, she is scheduled to fly to Geneva, Stuttgart and Nuremberg. The final landing of the 737 is scheduled to take place at 7:40p when she returns from Nuremberg (LH153) and the simulcast will capture the moment. Tickets are still available for these final flights.
To tune into the broadcast, please use this link (you will be redirected to Facebook). You can also track events on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag of #ThankYou737.
One of the retired workhorses of the LH Fleet…..
There’s a lot attention being paid to this final 737 due to the fact that Lufthansa was the launch customer for the aircraft nearly 50 years ago and is responsible for the aircraft’s existence.
Lufthansa approached Boeing in the 1960s looking to replace a propeller driven regional fleet with jets so that they can better serve their European destinations. Boeing and Lufthansa announced February 19, 1965 that LH would be the launch customer, and almost exactly 3 years later on February 10, 1968, the first 737 joined the fleet. In all, 155 737 aircraft had been part of the LH fleet at one time or another over the last 48 years.
Had it not been for LH, there’s no guarantee that the 737 would have ever been developed and become one of history’s best selling and most popular aircraft.
Lufthansa gives birth to the 737
Lufthansa’s 737 retirement schedule
Earlier this week, Lufthansa took the final step to retire a long serving member of their fleet when they arranged for the sale of their last 737-300 aircraft. For those of you keeping score at home, they are:
D-ABEC Entered service on July 9, 1991
D-ABED Entered service on July 12, 1991
D-ABEE Entered service on July 18, 1991
D-ABEF Entered service on July 31, 1991
D-ABEH Entered service on August 15, 1991
D-ABEK Entered service on November 21, 1991
D-ABEN Entered service on January 16, 1992
These final 7 have been sold to Automatic LLC, a firm specializing in leasing aircraft. The aircraft will be delivered to Automatic LLC between October and December and will be refit for further sale or leasing.
To see what a Lufthansa 737 looks like along with all the other Lufthansa aircraft, please visit my Lufthansa Gallery on Aero-Shots.com.
H/T: FlyerTalk / Oliver2002