All Nippon Airways (ANA) retired the last of its 747 aircraft back in 2014, but at its peak, the airline operated more than 40 of the type. We take a look at where all these planes went, and which ones are still in use today.
At one point, ANA had a massive 46 Boeing 747s in its fleet. These were divided up between the -100, -200 and the -400. Over the years, the Japanese carrier flew 17 747-100s, six 747-200s and 23 747-400s. Today, they have none at all. So what happened to all ANA’s 747s?
ANA’s first Boeing 747-100 arrived in December 1978 registered JA8134. Shortly after, the second arrived at the airline, registered JA8133. Between then and November 1982, the airline would go on to receive the other 15 747-100s from Boeing.
The first aircraft to leave the fleet was JA8158 in December 1993. I say leave the fleet, but actually it went back to Boeing to be converted into a freighter, and then rejoined ANA as a cargo airliner. It lives on today at a cargo plane for Armenia’s Vertir Airlines, although data shows it is currently stored.
For the rest of the -100s, most did not make it this far. All had left the fleet by 2006, and while two went to Qatar and three to Atlas Air, all those planes are now scrapped. Apart from the one owned by Vertir, just two others appear to still be alive, both in the custody of Boeing and both marked as ‘stored’.
However, there is one of ANA’s old 747-100s which had a rather interesting end to its life. JA8147, after being returned to Boeing and taking on the registration N219BA, was used in the plane crash scene of War of the Worlds. Right now, it lies in the back lot of Universal Studios where many of its interior fittings can still be seen intact.
ANA only had six 747-200s in its fleet, with the first being delivered in June 1986. The first -200 to join the fleet was registered JA8174, and operated for ANA until November 2005 when it was sold to Air Universal in Jordan. It went on to work at PIA as well as Hellenic Imperial Airways, who still own it now although it is stored. The second, JA8175, went exactly the same way, arriving in July 1986, moving to Air Universal in February 2006 and finishing life with Hellenic who now has it in storage.
The outcome for the third has not been so good. While it worked for ANA for 22 years, in 13 years as a passenger plane and nine as a cargo aircraft, it passed through a number of other carriers until it arrived with Saudi Arabian Airlines in March 2012 as EK74798. Less than a year later, it suffered a runway excursion on landing in Abuja, hitting several construction vehicles before coming to a stop. While nobody was hurt, the plane was significantly damaged and subsequently written off.
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The next two to be delivered, which arrived in July 1987 and August 1989 were both converted to freighters too, after around 13 years of service as passenger planes. Happily, both are still in the skies, one working for Air Georgia as 4L-GNK and the other for Moldovan airlines Fly Pro as ER-BAT.
The last arrival at ANA, JA8192, is the only 747-200 which the airline did not acquire from new. Before ANA received it in November 1990, it had already served for nearly 10 years with Royal Jordanian, Garuda Indonesia and British Caledonian / British Airways. It was converted to cargo in 1997 and operated for 15 years as such, before being broken up at Singapore in 2015.
ANA received its first 747-400 in August 1990, and over the next 10 years it would go on to receive another 22 of the type. That very first 747-400, delivered as JA8094, would you believe is still in operation. It was converted to cargo in 2007, and has passed through many hands before ending up with UK based Magma Aviation, where it is still in service today as TF-AMP.
Of the next four delivered, two were converted to cargo planes and remain active to this day. The other two remained passenger planes; both have been scrapped.
From January 1992, ANA began having the 747-400D delivered. This variant of the -400 was specially configured for domestic operations, lacking winglets and wingtip extensions of the other variants. It is recognizable by more windows on the upper deck, as a galley area is replaced by more seating, and could accommodate up to 660 passengers in an all-economy configuration.
Of the 11 747-400Ds that ANA had delivered, all but two were scrapped by the airline, showing just how niche this format for the 747 really was. The two that lived to tell the tale of this funny configuration was JA402A and JA401A, which were both converted to freighters in 2007 and 2008 and are still in operation today for Suparna Airlines as B-2432 and B-2435.
The final five 747-400s to be delivered to ANA that weren’t the D version are all still in service today. Two, as you might expect, are working as cargo carriers, but amazingly three are still being used as passenger planes.
JA403A now flies for Saudi Arabian Airlines as TF-AAC, JA404A for Atlas Air as N263SG and JA405A also flies for Atlas Air as N322SG. Although primarily a cargo airline, Atlas Air retains a small fleet of Boeing 747 passenger aircraft for commercial and military passenger charters. The glowing golden livery bestowed to these two old workhorses is a befitting conclusion for the Queen of the Skies.