Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific has retired its final passenger-carrying Boeing 747, bringing to an end a 37-year chapter in the airline’s history.
The carrier received its first example in 1979 and the type was instrumental in Cathay becoming a major global airline. A year later a second arrived and Cathay began flying to/from London’s Gatwick Airport for the first time.
The airline’s final 747 flight took place on October 1 when the B-HUJ flew to Tokyo and back to Hong Kong International Airport (operating routes CX 542 and CX543).
To celebrate the significance of the occasion, boarding gate ceremonies were arranged in both Hong Kong and Tokyo, during which passengers were greeted by Cathay Pacific ambassadors wearing vintage cabin crew uniforms and offered glasses of Champagne to toast the 747’s remarkable history. Those aboard the final flights were also presented with a special souvenir pack containing a signed flight certificate and exclusive 747-related memorabilia. Both flights were commanded by the airline’s current longest serving 747 pilot, Captain John Graham.
Cathay Pacific will continue to fly the jets in its cargo fleet, but has decided not to adopt the new-generation 747-8 for passengers. Instead, it says it plans to offer passengers greater flexibility by operating more direct flights with its fleet of smaller Boeing 777s and Airbus A350s.