China Airlines Brings Forward Some Boeing 747 Freighter Retirements

China Airlines has today revealed that it had reduced the expected service life of 14 of its Boeing 747-400 freighters by a year. The airline also announced that the service life of three of its Airbus A330-300 aircraft would be cut by two years.

China Airlines, Boeing 747-400F, Retirement
China Airlines has revealed that most of its Boeing 747-400F fleet will have its service life shortened. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Last year, Taiwanese carrier China Airlines retired its last passenger Boeing 747. This took place slightly behind schedule due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the airline’s cargo Boeing 747-400s still have some life in it, the board of directors has voted to cut their planned service life by a year, according to a filing issued today.

14 Boeing 747s to retire early

In the filing issued by China Airlines, the airline revealed that 14 of the airline’s Boeing 747-400 freighters would have their planned service life cut by a year, from 25 years to 24. This is due to changes in the fleet plan put into place at the start of the year.

China Airlines, Boeing 747-400F, Retirement
According to the new timeline, the oldest aircraft still has a couple of years left. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

According to data from ch-aviation.com, China Airlines currently has 18 Boeing 747-400(FSCD) aircraft. FSCD stands for Freighter – side cargo door. All are listed as active apart from two younger jets listed as being in maintenance. According to the portal, the oldest aircraft, B-18701, is only 21.59 years old, suggesting it still has at least two more years ahead of it, given the airline’s revised service life.

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Three Airbus A330-300s are also affected

The filing also reveals that three of the airline’s Airbus A330-300s will also meet a swifter than had been anticipated end. These aircraft had been due to fly for 20 years but have now had this cut to 18 years. According to ch-aviation.com‘s data, China Airlines has 23 A330-300s.

China Airlines, Boeing 747-400F, Retirement
Three of the airline’s A330s will be retired a couple of years early. Photo: Getty Images

It’s unclear which of these will find their retirement plans accelerated, though there is one obvious candidate. B-18301 is a 17.66-year-old jet listed as stored. It would make sense if this aircraft didn’t return to the skies for the Asian airline.

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Passenger 747s already retired

Like many airlines across the globe, China Airlines has already bid farewell to the passenger variant of the Jumbo Jet. The airline planned to operate a final farewell flight with the Boeing 747 on February 6th, 2021. This ended up being delayed due to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

China Airlines, Boeing 747, Retirement
The airline had to postpone its passenger 747 retirement due to COVID-19. Photo: Getty Images

Following the delay to proceedings, the airline was able to complete a five-hour special scenic flight to nowhere, passing Mount Fiji with a bunch of avgeeks onboard. The aircraft operating the flight was the last Boeing 747-400 to be built by Boeing with passengers in mind, making it a special airframe. The airline first began flying the Boeing 747-100 around 47 years ago, suggesting that the Queen of the Skies will easily clock half a century at the carrier.

What do you make of China Airlines’ revised fleet plans? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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