It seems almost impossible to imagine how fast the 744 was leaving airline inventories before the Covid19 pandemic. During it numbers have gone into free-fall.
In the past weeks we’ve seen British Airways send aircraft to graveyards in Wales and Spain, some are for storage but for the most part nobody expects any of them to return to service.
Virgin Atlantic took 7 out of service overnight and none of them will ever come back.
Air India still has 4 but nobody expects them to return to service.
China Airlines has 4, again all parked and unlikely to return.
ElAl ended 744 passenger operations but recently did hire in a 744F.
Corsair, the French airline parked 3 744’s and they have already said they are effectively retired.
Iraqi Airways had one and it hasn’t flown since February, again, unlikely to return.
Korean Airlines has ended all 744 operations but will carry on with its 748i’s.
Iran’s Mahan Air, too often associated with moving troops into Syria, was operating a 747 but has again stopped.
Qantas ended 744 operations on March 29th but has set a one off flight in October to Tokyo, possibly a last farewell.
Almost bankrupt Thai has been forced to cut costs drastically and retired its last 744 in March.
KLM also withdrew its last 5 passenger 744’s, but is using 3 of the 744M’s as cargo until the end of the emergency, then will retire those too.
Wamos Air technically is still operating 4 744’s but its expected demand will cut these from the fleet.
Rossiya Russian Airlines parked up 9 aircraft, demand in Russia is depressed and its unlikely all, if any will return to service.
Lufthansa withdrew to storage the 8 744’s that were left, but may return some eventually, but it seems unlikely. They were to be retired by 2025 in any event. the airline operates 19 748i’s but the first of those is nearly ten years old and the airline has always said they will be retired at ten years. Its quite likely the current crisis will ensure that happens if there was any doubt before.
Atlas Air still operates three passenger versions, but is flying them as cargo. Uncertain if they will remain in service longer term.
Asiana is set to retire its last 744 this year.
Air China has three, but one is VIP spec, two more still fly but on domestic routes. It has four 748i’s.
Air Atlanta Icelandic has 4, but two are stored and two more are on dry lease work, flying cargo only. Future uncertain, but the airline is returning more 744F’s to service with the collapse of its passenger income.
And of course the last 747’s in service are likely to be the 748i’s modified to Air Force One. They’ll not be in service until 2024 and are likely to serve at least until around 2055.
So the age of the Queen of The Skies is vast coming to an end. Everything does.