Friday, April 6, 2012

Last call for flight SQ747: Singapore Airlines' Boeing 747 takes off on final trip

SINGAPORE: After four decades of service, Singapore Airlines bids farewell to the last of its Boeing 747 fleet.

On Friday, the airline held special return flights from Singapore to Hong Kong to commemorate the aircraft's retirement.

The Boeing 747 aircraft will make its final touch down at 7.30pm.

A gong, a song and a dance to bid farewell to the last 747 for Singapore Airlines.

Fans of the aircraft flew into Singapore from around the globe to celebrate the historic occasion.

The aircraft, through almost 40 years of service, played a pivotal role in shaping SIA into the airline it is today.

More than 350 commercial passengers and staff, media and other invited guests flew on the final flights.

Among the passengers was Captain Kenneth Toft, SIA's first B747 pilot.

Capt Toft said: "Perhaps the one that really stands out was when Boeing allocated its 1000th 747 to Singapore Airlines and at that time I was an ordinary land pilot, and I asked the manager whether they could include me in the team and they did."

One hundred passengers made the return flight from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Ingmar de Keger, a passenger, said: "I flew in yesterday from Frankfurt to Singapore and now to be able ... to fly to Hong Kong and back, and tonight I am flying back home, back to Belgium, through Frankfurt. Short trip, but I think it's worth the effort."

Ashan Karunagaran, a passenger, said: "I'm from Sydney, we flew here ... Just to be on this flight, because it is a historic event for the aviation industry."

How Chong Jeng, a passenger, said: "This is the aircraft where I suppose many of my generation first travelled long-haul overseas, for example to Australia, or Japan or London, so it holds a lot of fond memories for all of us."

The commemorative flights had an extended flying time of one hour, to enable those on board to savour the unique experience.Those on board enjoyed specially-crafted meal services, inflight entertainment, as well as limited edition 747 memorabilia.

Those travelling in first class were treated to an exclusive tour of cabin crew training facilities and a B747 flight simulator.

Mak Swee Wah, Executive Vice President of Singapore Airlines, said: "It's sad to see it go, all of us have memories of our life with the plane, when we travel on it, when we work on it. So in a way it's a passing of an era. But we also look forward to what lies ahead."

In 1973, SIA received delivery of the first two B747s.

In 2003 at its peak, it had 51 747 aircrafts.

And now in 2012, following various incarnations of the aircraft from big top to mega top, the journey has come to an end.

Source:  http://www.channelnewsasia.com