Air India vehemently denies impeding farewell of the Boeing 747-400s

Yesterday, we wrote about the impending wrap-up of the 747 aircraft from the Air India fleet. There are many reasons to believe this is possible: the Covid-19 pandemic, the closure of the Boeing 747 line at Boeing itself, and the quarter-century age of the Boeing 747s of Air India.

Air India only has four Boeing 747-400 aircraft in its fleet. VT-ESP has not operated a flight in over a year as of March 9, 2021. VT-ESO operated a flight on September 17, 2020. VT-EVB has not performed a flight in a long time as well. VT-EVA, which was operating Delhi – Kolkata round trips all of February 2021, is now in Delhi.

Our story about the 747 was picked up by the Times of India, who confirmed it with their sources inside the airline, to be told that the Board of Air India could decide soon, as soon as their next meeting.

Somewhere, on the interwebs, Air India read that an upcoming flight of this aircraft type is the final flight for the AI 744s and issued a denial on their Twitter account.

I can understand the airline wanting to make this declaration on their terms, and the last flight of this plane continues to be still unannounced. However, they are down to 5 pilots who can pilot the aircraft, with others being moved to other widebody fleets. There was a rumour about a Jeddah flight being conducted by this aircraft, but at this moment, there is only one scheduled flight of this aircraft, and it is not to Jeddah.

Air India could perhaps continue to use them as freighter aircraft, and keep them in the fleet hence. But they don’t have much left in them in terms of use for passenger aircraft, and the upkeep has been terrible as well. I am not so sure there are enough avgeeks willing to pony up money for a joy ride ever so often with these aircraft. Or perhaps Air India might want to pull them from active service and have them in the hangar till they are sold.

It remains to be seen if Air India will hold on to the 747s any longer, or will they finally be retiring in the coming days. What do you think?

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  1. Boeing 747 is a very good aircraft. If AI can keep it so long as maintenance service is possible and affordable, it will be a good source of income especially Gulf sector more specifically Saudi to Indian destinations like Delhi, Calicut or Kannur.

    I was a regular passenger ever since AI started service to Kerala sector. History shows itself.

    • It is infact maintained really well . Till a few months back , the very same aircraft was used for VVIP movements …
      The aircraft is deployed on sectors with huge demand . For ex del ccu during durga puja , del bom during diwali , kerala to saudi during hajj with a generous baggage allowance of 40-50 kgs for a economy pax ! Those flights are always full and always bring good revenue to the company .

  2. Let them keep boeing 797 and DC 10 aircrafts as well

    Then will open good museum

    Tax payers money used for something crap.

    • 747 should be there, because it’s not old crap, though it’s a gas blowing piece of relic, but not for the fact that 747 is the only large capacity aircraft in AI’s fleet…
      They must be kept dormant in storage facilities… Because if they are to be used sometime in future… Like operation Solomon, it can be used…

      But still using them is kinda not so good thing… Still 747s will be 747s and Douglas dc 10s (flying coffiins)

      • I dont know what your definition / criteria to categorise an aircraft in large seat capacity. 744 seat 420ish and 773 seat 350. So there’s not much of a difference. These 744’s have been india’s pride and have taken our President / VP and PM all over the world for decades . These aircrafts will continue to be in operation till it becomes cost inefficent to maintain it . I am assuming these planes will be retired just before their expensive C / D check .

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