Wednesday 19 September 2018

9 iconic aircraft disappearing from the skies – including the 747 'jumbo jet'

A KLM Boeing 747-400 approaches St. Martin's Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM). Over 1,500 of the iconic aircraft have been built and delivered since 1966.
A KLM Boeing 747-400 approaches St. Martin's Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM). Over 1,500 of the iconic aircraft have been built and delivered since 1966.
A British Airways Concorde on a Christmas flight to Finland, December 24, 1987. Photo: Mohamed LOUNES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
The first powered flight, made by Orville Wright on 17 December 1903 near Kill Devil Hill, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Wright can be seen lying on the lower wing of the 12 horse- power, chain-driven Flyer I. The flight lasted for about 12 seconds, covering a distance of 36.5 metres (120 feet) at an airspeed of 48 kilometres/ hour (30 miles/hour), a groundspeed of 10.9 kilometres/hour (6.8 miles/hour) and an altitude of 2.5-3.5 metres (8-12 feet). Photo: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra
An Aer Lingus Super Constellation, known as the Super Connie. The propeller-driven were built by Lockheed Corporation between 1943 and 1958 at Burbank, California.
The world's largest plane, Antonov An-225, which is paid a flying visit to Shannon Airport in 2015. Photo: Deposit
A Qantas A380 flies over Sydney, Australia
Foynes Flying Boat Museum: Home to the world's only replica B314 flying boat (produced from 1938-1941).
A Douglas DC-3. Photo: Getty
A Boeing 727 'trijet' with its distinctive third middle engine. Photo: Getty/Bettmann Archive
Iolar ('eagle'), the first Aer Lingus aircraft, a DH84 Dragon EI-ABI that flew from Baldonnel to Bristol on May 27, 1936.
Pictured with the Iolar at Bristol airport are Aer Lingus cabin crew Laura Mc Cabe and Catherine McDonnell, both wearing the very first Aer Lingus uniform worn by cabin crew in 1945. Photo: Dan Regan
Air Force One, the most iconic 747 of all?
Aeroflot's turboprop airliner IL-18. (Photo by Rykoff Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
A BOAC (British Overseas Airway Corporation) Vickers VC-10 photographed at London Heathrow. The narrow-body aircraft first flew in 1962. Photo: Ken Fielding/Wikimedia Commons.
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner takes off. The now-iconic aircraft first launched in 2007. Photo: Boeing.com
Chantilly- USA: A Boeing 307 Stratoliner Flying Cloud on Display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The then-futuristic airliner first took to the skies in 1938.
A Fokker 100 at Aviodrome aerospace museum in the Netherlands. It was the largest jet airliner built by Fokker before its bankruptcy in 1996. Photo: Deposit
23rd January, 1975: A newer, longer Douglas DC9 takes off on its maiden flight. Photo: Alan Band/Keystone/Getty Images
A British Airways Concorde takes off from Heathrow airport in London, 2001. Photo: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
In 2014, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary landed at Dublin airport with the first of Ryanair's new Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft from Seattle. The aircraft has become a staple for Irish travellers.

Oliver Smith

With two of the biggest airlines on the planet retiring their last 747s in recent months, we highlight some of the most important aircraft facing extinction.

Boeing 747

The 747 will remain in the sky for some time to come – a remarkable 1,536 have been built and delivered since 1969 and they remain an important part of countless airline fleets, including that of British Airways, which owns 41 of the jumbo jets, and Virgin Atlantic, which has eight.

But they are slowly being phased out. BA has said the model will be gone from its hangers by 2024, last week United waved goodbye to its final 747 with a farewell flight from San Francisco to Honolulu (recreating the route of its first 747 service in 1970).

GettyImages-517783528.png
The Aer Lingus 747 that carried Pope John Paul II is shown with airline hostesses in a September 1979 file photo. Photo: Getty

Aer Lingus took delivery of two Boeing 747s in the early 1970s, famously flying Pope John Paul II onboard one (above) during his 1979 trip to Ireland.

United’s US rival Delta retired its last 747 in September. Before long this iconic aircraft, the world’s biggest passenger plane for 37 years, will be the preserve of the planet’s smaller airlines.

Fokker 100

Depositphotos_142971241_xl-2015.jpg
A Fokker 100 at Aviodrome aerospace museum in the Netherlands. It was the largest jet airliner built by Fokker before its bankruptcy in 1996. Photo: Deposit

The largest aircraft built by Dutch manufacturer Fokker before it declared bankruptcy in 1996, the Fokker 100, and its smaller sibling, the Fokker 70, is rapidly disappearing from the skies.

KLM, the world’s oldest airline and for decades its biggest customer, retired its final Fokker on October 28, and it is estimated that by the end of the year only 12 Fokker 100s will be left in Europe (Helvetic Airways, based in Switzerland, will be the continent’s biggest Fokker operator, with five).

Virgin Australia Regional Airlines still uses the Fokker 100, but is planning to replace them with ATRs. Other airlines still flying the Dutch aircraft include Iran Air, Papua New Guinea's Air Niugini, and Air Panama.

Airbus A300

GettyImages-110835378.jpg
July 13, 2007 - The last model of A300 at the Airbus delivery centre in France. The 821st plane left its final assembly line for a new owner the us delivery company FedEX. Photo: AKSARAN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Airbus ceased production of the A300, the world’s first twin-engined widebody, a decade ago, and they are becoming a rare sight indeed.

FedEx and UPS still use them for cargo services, but only a handful of passenger airlines fly them, including Mahan Air, based in Iran, which has 16 on its books, and Air Hong Kong.

Boeing 727

GettyImages-517475720.jpg
A Boeing 727 'trijet' with its distinctive third middle engine. Photo: Getty/Bettmann Archive

The trijet was certainly popular for a time. The Hawker Siddeley Trident, which first flew in 1962, the Lockheed Tristar, introduced in 1972, the Tupolev Tu-154, unveiled in the same year, and the DC-10, which debuted in 1971, are notable examples.

But they soon fell from favour, making the sight of an aircraft with a middle engine now truly novel.

Boeing’s only trijet, the 727, has been out of production since 1984, but is still used by a few carriers. Once again it is Iran holding the torch for outdated aircraft, with Iran Aseman Airlines still operating three 727-200s.

Kalitta Charters, based in Michigan, is another that still flies them.

McDonnell Douglas DC-9

GettyImages-3267753.jpg
23rd January, 1975: A newer, longer Douglas DC9 takes off on its maiden flight. Photo: Alan Band/Keystone/Getty Images

McDonnell Douglas has been defunct since 1997, but its aircraft can still be seen, though in ever decreasing numbers. Almost 1,000 DC-9s were built, but fewer than 100 are still in the sky, almost all of which are running cargo services. Passengers with LASER Airlines, based in Venezuela, Fly SAX, based in Kenya, and Aeronaves TSM, based in Mexico, can still board a DC-9.

McDonnell Douglas MD-80

Depositphotos_11635768_l-2015.jpg
McDonnell Douglas MD-80, out of service for over 20 years. Photo: Deposit

The MD-80 has been out of service for almost 20 years, but a couple of US airlines still use them. Delta has a clutch of 30-year-old MD-80s, as does American Airlines, the oldest of which was delivered in 1986. Expect them to be phased out slowly but surely over the coming years.

Ilyushin Il-18

GettyImages-526762190.jpg
Aeroflot's turboprop airliner IL-18. (Photo by Rykoff Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

This turboprop was one of the most iconic Soviet airliners - at a time when the sprawling country’s questionable air safety record was something of a running joke - but has been out of service since 1985.

In the last five years it has disappeared from the fleets of Aeroflot and Rossiya Airlines, as well as a clutch of Cuban airlines.

In fact, our research suggests that only two carriers still fly them. Sri Lanka’s FitsAir, which has one for cargo services, and Air Koryo, North Korea’s national airline, often rated the world’s worst, which also owns one, but only uses it for domestic services. 

Tupolev Tu-134

GettyImages-540788960.jpg
An Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-134 (Photo by Dean Conger/Corbis via Getty Images)

North Korea is also the place to go if you want to experience this Soviet throwback (though the Department of Foreign Affairs advises against travel to the country) - Koryo Air has two Tu-134s on its books, though they, like the Il-18 aren’t used for international services. Sirius-Aero, a Russian charter airline, and Berkut Air, based in Kazakhstan, are other options.

McDonnell Douglas DC-3

GettyImages-171571420.jpg
A Douglas DC-3. Photo: Getty

Earlier this year, Telegraph Travel went on the hunt for the oldest passenger plane still in service. It found a Boeing 737-200 with the serial number 20335 that was built in 1970 and is currently flown by Airfast Indonesia.

More recently, it was pointed in the direction of Buffalo Airlines, a family-run Canadian carrier. It owns six DC-3s, a model that has been out of service since 1950. Scheduled passenger flights have been suspended, but they are available for charter services.

Read more:

The world's scariest airport landings: videos

Telegraph.co.uk

Editors Choice

Travel Insider Newsletter

Get the best travel tips, deals and insights straight to your inbox.

Also in Life