Delta Air Lines issued this statement and photo:
Nearly 400 customers, crew and employees said a formal farewell to Delta’s Boeing 747-400 on Sunday morning to commemorate the Queen of the Skies’ retirement from Delta revenue flights.
“The Boeing 747-400 has been an integral part of Delta’s (including Northwest) entire fleet for the last three decades, especially on trans-Pacific routes,” said Andrew Kim, Delta’s Director – Sales, Korea. “Today’s flight, Ship 6310, was manufactured in 1990, has flown approximately 64 million miles and is retiring after 27 years of service, in favor of safer, more comfortable, more reliable and more efficient modes of transportation for our passengers.”
“Now Delta has introduced, for its next-generation main aircraft for the trans-Pacific, the newer Airbus A350-900, which is already active on the Seoul Incheon-Detroit route on select days. With the retirement of the 747, the route now offers the latest aircraft with premium products and service everyday” Andrew added.
The ceremony honored two distinguished 747-400 captains for their contribution to aviation history and thanked customers for sharing the decades with Delta.
“I started flying for Delta Air Lines in 1976. All of those years have put me in the fortunate position of being the Senior 747 Captain at Delta and given me the incredible honor of flying today’s flight along with this great crew,” said Capt. Brian Hollingsworth. “The 747 is the most iconic aircraft ever built, and an aircraft that every pilot dreams of flying. Actually, I have been married to a former flight attendant for 40 years now, and she will be greeting me when we arrive in Detroit because today is my last trip. I am retiring after 42 years at Delta.”
After thanking his fellow crew members, Hollingsworth welcomed Capt. Rusty Bliss, one of Delta’s most senior captains and a 747 check airman instructor.
“For almost a half a century, Northwest Airlines and now Delta Air Lines have been pioneering the Pacific with the Boeing 747. This wonderful airplane has provided a safe, comfortable, reliable and efficient mode of transportation for our passengers for many years. Historians will compare what the Boeing 747s have done for international flying to what the DC-3 did for domestic aviation in the United States,” said Bliss. “We know there are many of you who are admirers of the Boeing 747-400, and I understand you have chosen this last flight to say farewell to the queen of our fleet. Thank you for your loyalty to her and to Delta Air Lines.”
Meng Aguirre, Managing Director – Trans Pacific Operations, closed the ceremony by giving appreciation to employees and, most importantly, customers.
“Thank you and welcome to all our customers today as we celebrate Delta Air Lines’ Queen of the Skies, the 747-400. All of us who have worked on the 747-400 will always remember our queen with fondness. We would also like to recognize all our employees for their dedicated service to provide you with safe, reliable and excellent customer service on the ground and on-board. Enjoy your flight today, and we look forward to welcoming you back to ICN or your next Delta destination.”
After the ceremony, passengers enjoyed taking photographs with 747-400 branded back panels and received commemorative items including post cards and stickers. Flight 158 from Seoul-Incheon to Detroit departed early Sunday morning.
Photo: Delta Air Lines.