Singapore Airlines will operate a special commemorative round-trip between Singapore and Hong Kong on April 6, 2012 to mark the retirement of the Boeing 747 from the carrier’s passenger fleet after nearly four decades of service.
On April 6, Singapore Airlines will operate flight SQ747 from Singapore to Hong Kong and SQ748 from Hong Kong to Singapore with a Boeing 747-400. On that day, these special flights will replace the existing flights SQ860 and SQ863, which are normally operated by Airbus A330-300s.
The special flights, which will be SIA’s last commercial passenger services with a Boeing 747, are now open for sale. In addition to more than 300 commercial passengers, on board will be employees who have worked on the aircraft type throughout its history, as well as a group of underprivileged children and media.
“Saying farewell to the Queen of the Skies will not be easy. Over more than 38 years, the B747 has played an important role in helping SIA become the global airline that it is today,” says Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines. “It enabled us to extend our network around the world and introduce innovative new products and services. These flights will mark the end of an era, but the spirit of innovation will live on at Singapore Airlines.”
SIA will extend the flying time of the commemorative flights by one hour to enable those on board to be treated to a unique in-flight experience. This will include specially crafted meal services and in-flight entertainment, according to the airline. Customers will\ also receive limited-edition Boeing 747 memorabilia.
First Class customers will be offered an additional experience: an exclusive tour of SIA’s cabin-crew training facilities and Boeing 747-400 flight simulator in Singapore. The airline will continue to need the simulator because it will still operate a fleet of 11 Boeing 747-400 Freighters and two 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighters. These two aircraft are 747s which have been converted from passenger to freighter configuration.
Flight SQ747 will depart Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN) at 8:30 a.m. on April 6 and will arrive at Hong Hong International Airport (HKG) at 1:15 p.m. Flight SQ748 will leave HKG at 2:45 p.m. and will land at SIN at 7:30 p.m. Singapore and Hong Kong are in the same time zone.
A dedicated website has been set up to commemorate the retirement of the Boeing 747 “jumbo jet” from Singapore Airlines passenger service, at www.SIAjourneys.com. The site features milestones and records set over the years, as well as historical photographs and video footage, including interviews with staff and customers.
Singapore Airlines has replaced the Boeing 747-400 in its passenger fleet with the twin-engine, more fuel-efficient Boeing 777-300ER and also with the Airbus A380, now the world’s largest passenger jet. SIA was a launch customer for the A380 and was also the first airline to take delivery of the big Airbus double-decker, in September 2007.
The special SIA flights to mark the retirement of the Boeing 747 from passenger service with the airline will come a little more than a month after the first delivery of the newest (and probably the final) Boeing 747 passenger model, the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. The first delivery of a Boeing 747-8I to a customer, unnamed as yet, is planned for February 28.
To date three airlines – Lufthansa, Korean Air and Nigeria’s Arik Air – have ordered 27 Boeing 747-8I passenger aircraft among them, in addition to eight 747-8 Intercontinentals sold as VIP aircraft to private buyers.