After 27 years of service for Taiwanese airline EVA Air, the Boeing 747 has been retired from the fleet. The planes were a mainstay of the airline’s long-haul flights. Tuesday’s flight, B-16407, was a cargo plane on its last mission for the airline from Los Angeles to Taipei Taoyuan International Airport.
EVA first introduced the 747-400 passenger aircraft on November 2, 1991. Following its first two planes that year, the airline acquired a total of 18 from the US-based airplane manufacturer, including five passenger aircraft, 10 747-200M Combi aircraft, and three cargo planes.
EVA has been upgrading its fleet to better serve customers and ensure safety. Airlines have been moving away from the four-engine planes to twin-engine aircraft with better fuel efficiency.
EVA will continue to utilize its fleet of Boeing 777s, Boeing 787s, Airbus A330s, Airbus A321s, and ATR 72s. The airline currently has 39 Boeing 777s and four 787 Dreamliners; it also operates 34 Airbus aircraft.
When EVA first acquired the 747s, it was partly to transport large volumes of electronics equipment between Taiwan and the US and Europe. While international air cargo has increased since the 747 was introduced, the types of cargo have change. Smaller cargo planes are used to ship fresh products worldwide, thus eliminating the need for wide-body cargo aircraft.
EVA Air’s move to retire the 747 from its fleet does not mean that there will no longer be any Boeing 747s flying in and out of Taoyuan Airport. Taiwanese national carrier China Airlines still has 22 Boeing 747-400s in service.
The first Boeing 747 was introduced on January 15, 1970, at Dulles International Airport; it entered service a week later for Pan Am on a flight from New York to London. As of last July, there were 462 Boeing 747s in service globally. The last US-based 747 passenger aircraft was retired by Delta Airlines in December 2017.