Delta Air Lines Announces Final Boeing 777 Flight To Japan

Delta Air Lines yesterday announced that its final Boeing 777 flight to Japan is taking place today. The aircraft will return from Haneda to Los Angeles on Friday. Saturday will see the last two domestic flights before Delta retires its entire 777 fleet.

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Delta’s Boeing 777 makes its final flight to Japan this week. Photo: Getty Images

Final Delta 777 flights to and from Japan are cargo-only

On October 28, Delta Air Lines posted on its news hub the details of its final 777 flights to and from Japan before the aircraft’s retirement. The cargo-only service operating as flight DL3455 will depart Atlanta on Wednesday, October 28, at 09:00, arriving in Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Japan, on Thursday, October 29, at 12:40. The return flight, DL3456, departs Haneda on Friday, October 30, arriving in Los Angeles at 06:00.

With the coronavirus pandemic causing a decline in passenger demand for international air travel, the 777 has mostly been used for cargo, mail, and American citizens’ repatriation to their home countries. Since April, the aircraft has flown many round trips between the US and Asia to carry thousands of tons of personal protective equipment to protect healthcare professional and frontline workers.

The 777 has also operated to long-haul destinations such as Manila, Mumbai, and Sydney. On most of the long-haul routes, the type will be replaced by the Airbus A350, which burns 21% less fuel per seat.

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The Airbus A350 will replace the 777 on long-haul routes. Photo: Getty Images

Delta is the largest US carrier serving Haneda

This year, Delta became the largest US airline to serve Tokyo Haneda when it moved flights from Narita to Haneda. The airline planned to operate seven daily flights between Haneda and Atlanta, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon. Haneda is Tokyo’s nearest and most convenient airport.

Delta’s 777s make their final flights this week

Earlier this month, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines announced its plans for the two final flights of its 777 aircraft. On October 30, the plane’s penultimate flight will depart from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport with flight number 8777.

The last flight on October 31, also operating under flight 8777, will depart John F. Kennedy International Airport heading for Los Angeles.

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Delta’s MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft have already been retired. Photo: Getty Images

Early retirement for Delta Air Lines aircraft

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Delta announced in May that it planned to retire all of its 18-strong Boeing 777 fleet by the end of 2020. The retirements had been planned for the near future, but the pandemic caused the airline to accelerate its strategy to simplify and update its fleet and operate newer and more efficient aircraft.

Delta’s first 777-200s joined the fleet in 1999, since when it grew to 18 aircraft, including 10 of the long-range version, which were added in 2008. At that time, it was one of the few aircraft that could fly on far off long-haul, direct routes, such as between Atlanta and Johannesburg and Los Angeles to Sydney,

In June, Delta retired its fleet of MD-88 and MD-90 aircraft, which had once made up a significant part of the airline. This year, the airline has also retired seven 767-300ERs, 10 Airbus A320s, and 10 Boeing 737-700s. By 2025, Delta is expected to have retired 385 aircraft as it moves towards a more streamlined fleet.

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