Before the days of the A380, A350, 787, and 777X, one of the most well-known of passenger aircraft included the Boeing 747. In fact, the iconic “Queen of the Skies” flew in Singapore Airlines livery for quite some time. Although Singapore Airlines does not fly any passenger 747s anymore, they do have some freighter 747s still flying.
Singapore Airlines and the Boeing 747
As per Airfleets, Singapore Airlines has flown a total of 116 Boeing 747 aircraft. These included the -200, -300, and -400 variants. Out of all these models, Singapore Airlines flew over 50 Boeing 747-400s. However, Singapore Airlines retired them before the end of their lifespan. In fact, some of the Boeing 747-400s flew for fewer than twenty years with Singapore Airlines.
The Boeing 747-400s found several new homes, with a number of different airlines taking over Singapore’s 747s. These include the following:
- Air Pacific (now known as Fiji Airways)
- Ansett Australia
- Lion Air
- Air India
- Cathay Pacific
Many of the 747s found a new life in the cargo world. With a strong freighter conversion program, old 747s can fly for many more years for cargo operators. A number of airlines took advantage of this program and still fly those aircraft to this day.
The last Boeing 747 flight for Singapore Airlines
On April 6th, 2012, Singapore Airlines operated its last Boeing 747 flight. Aircraft 9V-SPQ flew SQ747 from Singapore to Hong Kong and SQ748 from Hong Kong to Singapore. Reflecting on the history of the 747 for Singapore Airlines, Executive Vice President Commercial, Mr. Mak Swee Wah, had the following to say:
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
Singapore still flies the 747!
You read that correctly. Singapore Airlines still flies the 747. However, these 747s do not fly passengers anymore. Instead, they serve as dedicated cargo aircraft for Singapore Airlines.
Cargo aircraft can serve for much longer than passenger aircraft. For one, airlines do not have to worry about expensive cabin retrofits such as new inflight entertainment systems or new business class products.
When the 747-400s went out of Singapore Airlines’ fleet, the carrier needed replacements. One of the Boeing 747 replacements was the behemoth Airbus A380.
And, representing the broader trend of airlines moving away from four-engine aircraft to twinjets, Singapore Airlines also inducted the 777 into its fleet. This includes the 777-200 and 777-300 variants.
The age of the 747 at Singapore Airlines is over. Although, several other airlines are still flying the 747s and will for years to come, Singapore Airlines had a great run with the 747. However, now, their future looks much more like twinjets.
Do you have memories on a Singapore Airlines 747? Let us know in the comments!