Tokyo, July 30, 2009: The JAL Group’s last “Classic Jumbo Jet” is scheduled to take to the skies today on its final flight, ending an era of the Boeing 747 Classic type of aircraft in the company’s fleet. The 747-300, operated by a 3-man flight crew, will fly from Honolulu to Tokyo (Narita) and thereafter retire after 26 years of reliable service to the airline group.
The Classics from left: Boeing 747-100 (1970), Boeing 747-200 (1971) and Boeing 747-300 (1983) in JAL’s old livery.
In the mid-1960s, unprecedented development in technology and the availability of large-thrust engines led to the creation of the giant 747, beginning with the 747-100, the first in the 747 Classics series which also includes the -200 and -300 models. JAL first took delivery of a 747-100 in 1970, and was the launch customer of the 747-100SR in 1973. For its ever-expanding international network at the time, JAL owned the largest fleet of 747 Classics in 1984, and from 1987 through to 1989, it held the record number of 65 such aircraft - a figure that still stands as the most number of Classics owned by any one airline at a time.
Decommissioning the Group’s remaining 6 Classics - of which the earliest was delivered in November 1983, attests to the Group’s steady progress towards downsizing its fleet and operating more fuel-efficient aircraft such as Boeing 777.
Special ceremonies are being held today to bring the curtains down on a long-standing service by the Classic Jumbo Jets in grand fashion. Flight JO073 will be draped in a giant Hawaiian lei before departure at Honolulu
Airport, where an elaborate ceremony will be conducted. JAL is also being honored with a proclamation signed by State of Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle and Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr., and which will be read at the ceremonies declaring July 30, 2009, as “JAPAN AIRLINES CLASSIC JUMBO JET DAY,” with local dignitaries in attendance.
Boeing 747-300 in JAL’s latest livery
Upon arrival in Tokyo(Narita), the aircraft will be received at the gate by its designer - the “Father of the 747”, Mr. Joseph F. “Joe” Sutter, JAL staff as well as members of the media. Mr. Sutter who led the development of what would become the world’s first wide-body airliner and who is now a senior advisor to the Boeing Company will also grace this special occasion with a talk about the birth of the 747.
To memorialize the role of the popular Classic’s in the history of JAL, a sell-out commemorative flight organized by JAL Tours flew fans of the Classic Jumbo Jet from Tokyo (Haneda) to Shimojishima on a round-trip day tour on July 5, 2009. A total of 449 enthusiasts, members of the media and staff had the rare opportunity to go down memory lane, when cabin attendants who donned the 8 different uniforms in the history of JAL welcomed them onboard and served them during the flight.
The JAL Group airlines serve some 220 airports in 35 countries and territories, including 60 airports in Japan. Its international network covers over 250 passenger routes and 28 cargo routes, while its domestic operations include flights on 143 routes.
With around 23,000 employees in the air transport segment, JAL Group operates a fleet of some 270 aircraft including Boeing 747s and 777s and is now in the process of a major fleet renewal, introducing more fuel-efficient small and medium aircraft such as the 737 New Generation series and in the future the new high-tech Boeing 787 "Dreamliner".
JAL First Class offers fully reclining Skysleeper or Skysleeper Solo seats. JAL Executive Class - Seasons, introduces the concept of "quality time" spent on board and features the award-winning JAL Shell Flat Seat that reclines to almost the horizontal and provides a high degree of personal privacy. From December 2007 JAL started offering JAL Premium Economy on key business routes, and from August 2008 started introducing on US routes a luxurious new suite to JAL First Class and the JAL Shell Flat NEO, a leading-edge seat for JAL Executive Class.
Top quality in-flight service has always been the hallmark of JAL's reputation. Cuisine offered in all classes is a combination of Western and Japanese food. JAL carries a fine selection of award-winning wines and sake in First Class and JAL Executive Class - Seasons. Quality in-flight entertainment systems are a feature of JAL's international fleet aircraft.
A member of the oneworld global alliance since April 2007, JAL offers customers many benefits, such as the JAL Mileage Bank frequent flier program.