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Singapore Airlines waves 747 into retirement

Singapore Airlines waves 747 into retirement

Singapore Airlines has bid farewell to its Boeing 747 passenger fleet, with special commemorative flights between Singapore and Hong Kong.

Flight SQ747 departed Singapore’s Changi Airport at 08:30 after a series of celebratory events at Gate B7 in Terminal 3.

The flight is being operated with aircraft ‘9V-SPQ’, which was the last Boeing 747-400 that SIA took delivery of in 2001.

It is due to arrive in Hong Kong at about 13:15 before operating return flight SQ748, which is due to arrive in Singapore at around 19:30.

More than 350 customers and crew, as well as media and other invited guests, are on board flight SQ747, which is commemorating the Boeing 747’s 38-year history with the airline.

Guests include SIA’s first B747 pilot, retired Captain Kenneth Toft, as well as renowned wine connoisseur, Ms Jeannie Cho Lee, who is a member of SIA’s distinguished Wine Panel.

Twenty students and guardians from Singapore’s Chaoyang School are also on the flight, bound for a weekend in Hong Kong courtesy of SIA. It is the first flight experience for most of the students.

“The 747 was truly the jewel in our fleet for nearly four decades, and we would not be the airline that we are today if we had not made the bold decision in 1972 to purchase this iconic jetliner,” said Singapore Airlines’ executive vice president commercial, Mak Swee Wah, who is leading the festivities on board flights SQ747 and SQ748.

“The jumbo enabled us to fly from Singapore to destinations that we could not previously reach.

“It also allowed us to do things that were previously unimaginable on a commercial aircraft, giving us the opportunity to provide our customers new standards in space and comfort.”

Mak led passengers in a champagne toast across all three classes shortly after flight SQ747’s departure this morning.

Each customer will receive a unique certificate as well as a Boeing 747 aircraft model and limited-edition memorabilia.

In addition, the flight will feature special Boeing 747 in-flight entertainment programmes, featuring a series of exclusive staff interviews.

Some 70 passengers will be turning around in Hong Kong and returning to Singapore on flight SQ748 after a 90-minute stopover.

Aircraft ‘9V-SPQ’ is the last Boeing 747 remaining in SIA’s passenger fleet.

SIA’s Boeing 747-400s were configured with a total of 375 seats – 12 First Class, 50 Business Class and 313 Economy Class.

SIA placed its first orders for Boeing 747s in 1972 and took delivery of the first examples in 1973.

In 1994, SIA became the world’s biggest Boeing 747-400 operator when it took delivery of its 23rd of the type. By 2003, SIA operated a record 51 Boeing 747-400s, comprising 39 passenger variants and 12 freighters.