Northwest Airlines is retiring its last 747-200 from scheduled revenue
service.The 430-seat aircraft, which most recently operated NWA’s
Tokyo Narita-Saipan route, departed Tokyo Narita yesterday at 3:35
p.m. local time as flight 8, and arrived in Seattle on-time at 8:10
a.m. today, marking the end of 747-200 trans-Pacific service.
The aircraft, 6624/N624US, which was built in 1979 and joined the
Northwest fleet that year, will continue to Minneapolis/St. Paul as
flight 170, which is scheduled to arrive at 5:39 p.m., where it will
be officially retired from scheduled passenger service.
“The 747-200 was the mainstay of our international fleet,
particularly in the Pacific, for several decades,” said Captain Lane
Littrell, Northwest’s fleet training captain on the 747-200. “It has
served our customers and our company well, and many of us who have
flown it, worked in its cabin or maintained it have a soft spot for
it. We’ll miss it even as we appreciate the improvements provided by
the new generations of A330s and 747-400s.”
The two remaining 747-200s in Northwest’s fleet will operate for
approximately 18 months as charter aircraft.
Northwest has replaced the 747-200 with the modern Airbus A330 on
the Tokyo Narita-Saipan route. The A330 provides Northwest with fuel
savings, lower maintenance costs, and is a much quieter aircraft than
the 747-200 it replaces. Northwest began taking delivery of new Airbus
A330 aircraft in August 2003 and by the end of 2007, will have a fleet
of 32 A330s, including 21 298-seat A330-300s, and 11 longer-range,
243-seat A330-200s by the end of October 2007.
Northwest’s A330s are equipped with the airline’s World Business
Class lie-flat seats, more personal space in economy class seats
compared to other aircraft in the fleet, and an on demand in-flight
entertainment (IFE) system in both cabins. The fully interactive IFE
system offers travelers a choice of 40 movies, four short-subject
video programs, 56 different audio selections, six games, shopping and
in-flight information, allowing customers the freedom and flexibility
to start, pause or stop their selection at any time.
In World Business Class, customers are able to view any of these
features on a 10.4 inch/26.4 centimeter video screen. Customers
traveling in economy class are able to view these features on a
personal video screen in the seatback in front of them.
World Business Class travelers enjoy an array of features
including a lie-flat seat with a privacy canopy, 60 inches of space
between seats, 110-volt personal laptop computer power, cycling lumbar
support, a six-way adjustable headrest that slides along a track so it
can be adjusted to a traveler’s height, and four seat-back storage
Northwest’s A330 economy class seat offers more personal space
than any other seat in the carrier’s fleet and features a “winged”
headrest, with bendable sides, allowing the customer to rest their
head or sleep toward the side of the seat.