Farewell to the "Queen of the Skies": Air India Retires its Boeing 747 Fleet

Pujit Siddhant

Apr 23 2024

<div style=' background:#FFFFFF;color:#000000;font-family:Verdana;width:auto;padding:5px;max-height:100%;'><span><p><a href="https://www.airindia.com/">Air India</a>'s iconic Boeing 747s, once the undisputed "queen of the skies," have flown out of Mumbai airport for the last time on April 22nd, 2024. These jumbo jets were a mainstay of Air India's fleet, particularly for long-haul international flights.</p><p>The Economic Times reports that all four remaining Boeing 747-400s have found a new owner - US-based <a href="https://www.aersale.com/">AerSale</a>, a company specializing in aftermarket parts and engines for commercial jets.&nbsp; The last passenger flight for these 747s occurred in March 2021, on a Delhi-Mumbai route.</p><p>This departure marks a significant shift for Air India. After acquiring the airline in January 2022, the <a href="https://www.tata.com/">Tata Group</a> tasked a UK-based remarketing firm with selling the remaining 747s. The future for these aircraft seems divided - two are expected to be converted into freighters, while the remaining two will be dismantled for parts.</p><p>Social media reflected a sense of nostalgia for these departing giants. Sisira Kanta Dash, Air India's Chief Technical Officer, shared photos of the final departure on a social media platform (formerly known as Twitter). These photos were re-shared by Sanjiv Kapoor, former CEO of Jet Airways, who expressed his sadness at the end of an era. He highlighted the role these 747s played under JRD Tata's leadership, even though the airline was nationalized in the 1950s. Kapoor lamented the missed opportunity to preserve one of these aircraft as a museum exhibit in JRD Tata's honor.</p><p>Air India's history with the <a href="https://www.boeing.co.in/">Boeing</a> 747 began in 1971 with the delivery of their first aircraft. Just a month later, these planes entered service, offering four weekly flights from India to London. Notably, these spacious planes boasted a triple-class configuration with a total of 423 seats.</p><p>Beyond commercial passengers, Air India's 747s also served a special role.&nbsp; Until the <a href="https://indianairforce.nic.in/">Indian Air Force</a> acquired Boeing 777s in 2020, these 747s were used to transport VIPs, including Prime Ministers, Presidents, and Vice Presidents.&nbsp; For these executive duties, Air India would even reconfigure the cabins by removing some seats to create a more suitable environment.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>The Boeing 747's legacy with Air India goes beyond functionality. The airline launched a special branding campaign called "Your Place in the Sky" specifically for these aircraft.&nbsp; This campaign included a new visual identity for the exterior, featuring a silver and white paint scheme with red accents. The windows were even painted to resemble the decorative arches of the Hawa Mahal palace in Jaipur, further reflecting Indian heritage.&nbsp;</p><p>The departure of Air India's Boeing 747s signifies the end of an era,&nbsp; but their impact on the airline's history and their role in shaping international travel cannot be understated.&nbsp;</p><span></div>

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