The official end of the road for Air India’s 747 aircraft

Last year, we had written about the Air India 747 aircraft being retired from service, however, some avgeeks did not believe when it was going to happen, and this made Air India issue a statement stating that the aircraft was going to be a part of the fleet for the foreseeable future. However, after the privatisation of the airline, one of the first actions seems to be a quiet retirement of these birds.

Air India’s 747-400 aircraft deregistered

In the newly-released list of aircraft registered to various Indian airlines, you will note that there are no more Boeing 747 aircraft registered to Air India. This just means that the 747 have been taken off from the civil aviation register of India, and are no longer going to fly for any airline (unless, of course, someone takes them over and re-registers them).

As for Air India, they had already moved on with these jets even back in March 2021, as they had reassigned these pilots to the 777/787 fleets. Hence, there are no longer any current pilots for the 747 operations in the fleet of Air India.

While some may wish that these aircraft deserved a better farewell (and I share the sentiment), I was on the last flight of the Air India 747-400 aircraft from Delhi to Mumbai back in March 2021, and here you can relive the flight with me on board.

The Boeing 747 aircraft are most probably headed to the scrapyard to be turned into soft drink cans, but I seriously wish the Tata Group holds on to at least one of them, to be able to celebrate the legacy of Air India. Also, it would be nice to these aircraft upcycled rather than just crushed to use the metal out of them.


Air India’s 747 have been quietly retired altogether, with their names being struck off the civil aviation register. This is the end of the road for the Boeing 747 with Air India, as the programme has already been closed down by Boeing.

Do you have any memories with the Boeing 747 of Air India? Do share?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Sad to see 747-400 go away . These 747-400 looked so majestic with upper deck added the sophistication .It looked so magnanimous , impressive , huge but compact . I travelled in Himalaya , Konark , Mahendra Varman . Standing at the feet of the gigantic air craft at Heathrow and Sahar Airport was such a feeling hard to express . It was the only 747-400 that used to come from BOM-JFK & BOM-EWR same air craft daily .Lufthansa & British Airways are smart to retain these excellent Flagships of 747-400 and Air India made a huge mistake to retire these excellent impressive flag ships .Change does not mean forgetting your past. They could have upscaled the impressive 747-400 .

  2. Thank you for the post.
    Lucky to have flown and worked on this awesome aircraft during my apprenticeship in Air India.
    Fond memories! Will be missed!

  3. During early 80’s, as a child sometimes I used to accompany my father who was an aircraft engineer with Air India at its major maintenance base. I would occupy the captain’s seat in flight deck of 747 parked in hangar looking at the controls and imagining flying it. Also fortunate enough to have flown in these magnificent machines several times. Memories to cherish. I sincerely feel that atleast one aircraft may be retained and refurbished as per Air India early days cabin interior and made into museum for general people and new generations to see and know the golden era of aviation which is now lost.

  4. A sad day and an end of an era. Will always miss the Queen of the Skies. It was also the fastest commercial jet flying after Concorde was retired

  5. Most of my memories of Air India are of the 747s. As a kid and in my teens in the late 90s, I flew the 747 200s and 747-400 on the Bom-Riyadh sector. The first of the 3 economy cabin on their 744 was configured 3-3-3 instead regular 3-4-3 which was strange. I also remember flying travelling business class-upper deck (executive class as advertised by Air india) on the 747-400 and also on their 747-200- just by the spiral stairs. Enjoyed those 4 hour hops with Hindi movies being played on the big screens and not to forget – frootie, the famous indian mango juice.

  6. I had an opportunity to fly in the 747 in 2002 from BOM to to JFK via LHR. What made the flight memerobale was that the then Home Minister, Mr. LK Advani, was onboard the same flight and he went through the cabin greeting each passenger. A really nivce gesture.

    As a result, the service on that flight was exceptionally good. Cherry on top was that the flight was half full betyween LHR and JFk, which meant I had the middle row seats to lie flat on. The queen will be missed.

  7. Sometime in around 2004, I had the opportunity to fly the Air India 747 combi flight from BKk to BOM. Apprently it was a very interesting route which flew LA – Tokyo – Bangkok – Delhi – Mumbai and I joined the flight in the Bangkok to Mumbai leg. I remember it was full of families started from LA. Was feeling sorry for the kids as tbis was a very tiring marathon flight to Mumbai.

    The 747 combi aircraft was very interesting , while my memory is now hazy but i think it may have been the rare 747 SP combi … Maybe some avi geek can confirm if AI had a 747SP- Combi in its fleet. Flying economy class i remember unlike the standard 747 this aircraft had a half cabin with a partition just after its widest portion of its cabin. Service was AI ok at that time AI still had decent service prior to its downward slide. It had a common screen i think it played some Hindi movie … I as usual crashed as soon as I settled in a aisle seat which is my preferred seat.

    Good memories to get a opportunity to fly this unique aircraft

  8. We just dont want to end things humans and there mindset of being immortal. Name of roads , name of metro station like here in calcutta eg. MAHANAYAK UTTAM KUMAR STATION. when will we be mature. Always putting emotion in every metal and pieces . this is the exact reason AIR INDIA WENT DOWN and wasted indian rupees for years hoping to get back glory. Anyways i can go on with examples like this.

    • There, there, calm down Sagar-da. Maybe the heatwave has gotten to you.

      No one here is saying that Air India should continue to fly the 747s regularly. They’re all sharing memories of flying on an iconic aircraft, and maybe preserving one of the 747’s, much like BA did with the Concorde.

      You also seem to be illogically comparing the names of metro stations to the operations of an airline, which makes me concerned about what other examples you feel like to share with us.


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