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Boeing 747 loses its crown to A380

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When Garuda Indonesia retired its final Boeing 747-400 on 9 October, it confirmed an inevitable milestone for the original queen of the skies as the 747 passenger in-service fleet declined below that of the Airbus A380.

This month marks 10 years since the Airbus double-decker entered service, and over that decade Toulouse has shipped a total of 216 A380s to 13 customers. Of these, 213 are currently operational, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows (two Singapore Airlines A380s are grounded as they are being returned off lease, while an Air France A380 is in Goose Bay after the recent in-flight engine problem).

When the A380 arrived in service in 2007, the 747 passenger fleet totalled around 550 units. As the A380 fleet has expanded, the numbers of the original Jumbo Jet have steadily declined every year – despite production of the type continuing.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that with the Garuda retirement, there are 209 747s in passenger operation with airlines (a further 326 aircraft are in service in freight, VIP and other non-passenger-airline roles). The combined A380/747 airline passenger fleet stands at 423 aircraft, meaning that the worldwide fleet of ultra-large airliners has declined by over a fifth during the last decade.

The 747 passenger fleet is poised to shrink further in the coming months, as the two major US operators – Delta Air Lines and United Airlines – end their operations of the type. They currently operate seven and 10 747-400s, respectively. United is to cease 747 services next month, with Delta following in December.

Full report:

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The B747 is on the way out - but the 747 is still the most elegant and graceful jumbo aircraft and still truly be called the Queen of the Sky - something that cant be said of the A380. With more over 1,000 buit is something again that the A380 will never be ale to match.

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I reckon Airbus A380 will not be a good freighter like the B747s will. The B747's design allowed it to swallow the cargo from the mouth and pass it out at the back end....


The A380 will not be able to do this feat. They will have to swallow the cargo sideways and then comes to a question whether it can fill out both decks. Or you can fill it out with a single deck with surplus space left at top deck. It is a horrible freighter design. Airbus got their maths and thinking wrong again!


The 747 will probably live longer than the A380s, albeit not in the form of passenger model.

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