MIAMI – China Airlines (CI) has put its last four Boeing 747-400 aircraft up for sale. The move is part of the carrier’s plans to retire the remaining fleet by early 2021.

The wide-body jets were delivered between 2004 and 2005. But with the arrival of the more efficient Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350-900 jets, CI is saying goodbye to the Queen of the Skies. According to Taiwanese media CNA, the airline commissioned an asset management company to handle the sale.

Although the Boeing 747’s were operated by CI for its long-haul service, in recent months they were mainly used in regional operations. These include Okinawa, Japan, and Shanghai; and Guangzhou in China.

China_AirlinesvCargo747 Freighter aircraft. Photo: Frank Kovalchek.

A Focus on Air Cargo Fleet

CNA also reported that the Boeing 747 model currently does not appear in the winter season timetable published by the carrier. This period lasts between October 25, 2020 and March 27, 2021.

The airline said that it was looking to withdraw the fleet, so the pandemic hit just accelerated its decision. At the beginning of November, it reported a NT$707m net loss in the third quarter of 2020. In a similar move this month, Thai Airways (TG) also put various jumbos on sale to gain liquidity before the year ends.

However, as the uptick in air cargo operations continues, CI still has intact its 18 Boeing 747-400F freighters, as disclosed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). Alongside this capacity-type focus on aircraft, the carrier has already ordered six Boeing 777 Freighter.

China Airlines Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Photo: NagamasaAzai.