Thai Airways latest to retire its Boeing 747s, seeks to sell fleet plus 24 other jets
Thai Airways wants to sell all of its Boeing 747s and many of its 777s as it moves forward with a court-approved restructuring plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bangkok-based carrier is selling all 10 of its 747-400s, with statements of interest due by Nov. 13. Thai Airways also plans to sell 12 of its 32 777s plus one Airbus A300, nine Airbus A340s and two Boeing 737-400s. The A300, A340s and 737s were already parked prior to the pandemic.
With the sale of its 747s — known by AvGeeks as the "Queen of the Sky" — Thai Airways will join the likes of British Airways and Qantas Airways in retiring the venerable Boeing wide-body because of COVID. British Airways flew its final 747 off to retirement in Wales in October while Qantas sent its 747s off with a literal flying kangaroo in July.
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The 747 disappeared from U.S. passenger fleets in 2017. Its final two operators, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, both sent off the jets with their own flair — the former doing an employee tour and the latter a final flight reenacting its inaugural 747 flight to Hawaii.
Few airlines are likely to fly the 747 on passenger flights after the crisis. Air China, Korean Air and Lufthansa are among the handful of remaining operators. The airlines are also the only passenger carriers with the newest variant, the 747-8i.
Thai Airways has not flown a 747 on a scheduled passenger flight since March, according to Cirium schedules. Even then, the airline was primarily flying the jet on turns between its Bangkok (BKK) base and the holiday island of Phuket (HKT).
A Thai court approved a restructuring plan for the airline in September. The airline plans to shrink its operations and workforce, and streamline its fleet that included everything from Airbus A380s to 747s and Boeing 787s at the end of 2019.