Air France Stops Flying Boeing 747
Air France has stopped operating its Boeing 747 fleet. The last flight between Mexico City and Paris marks the end of an era in aviation history. Almost 30,000 people tried to get a ticket for the final flight. Air France launched its first 747 between Paris and New York in 1970. The airline is now replacing its jumbo jets with modern Boeing 777s.
Boeing's 747 became the most popular plane to fly the skies in the last decades. It could carry almost 500 passengers to faraway destinations. Many people travelled on their first holidays aboard the 747.
Many carriers have announced they will do the same as Air France and phase out their fleet of ageing 747s within the next decade. Today's new planes are more modern and fuel efficient.
However, there are still a large number of jumbo jets in the fleets of major European airlines. British Airways still has 41 in operation and recently announced that it will retrofit 18 of its carriers. KLM and Lufthansa both have over 30 747s still in operation.
Older pilots are disappointed at losing the 747 because it was a plane that really took skills to fly. Today's planes are mostly operated by computers, with pilots having little else to do but monitor the instruments.
When Boeing introduced its 747, airports could not handle the giant plane. New runways had to be built and airport terminals redesigned to cope with so many passengers at one time. But the 747 opened the way for mass tourism around the world.
A Boeing 747 in the Air France fleet - Image : Aero Icarus
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- ageing = getting older
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- fuel efficient = the engines burn less fuel, so that it becomes cheaper to operate the plane
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- little else = not much
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- mass tourism = when many people all over the world travel to certain places
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- runway = area where planes take off and land
- seating capacity = the number of passengers a plane can carry
- skill = being able to do something well because you have learned and practiced it