MIAMI – After 30 years in the air, Corsair (SS) has retired its last of three remaining Boeing 747-400. The aircraft took off from its home base in Paris Orly (ORY) and landed at Kemble Cotswold Airport (GBA).
According to the airline, their Boeing 747 fleet transported over seven million passengers around the world.
Although the aircraft were to be retired in April 2021, the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry prompted the airline to move up the retirement and fleet renewal plan.
As part of the fleet renewal plan, Corsair retired the Boeing 747 in favor of a homogenous Airbus A330 fleet.
The Airbus aircraft will be more efficient, environment-friendly, and flexible to the airline. As of now, the airline has five Airbus A330-900 on order, the first of which is to be delivered in August of this year.
The last of the three 747 to be retired, F-GTUI flew over 100,000 flight hours. F-GTUI’s siblings, F-HSEA and F-HSUN were retired on the 9th and 12th of this month.
History of Corsair’s Boeing 747
Corsair is one of the few airlines in the world to have operated all versions of the Boeing 747 and was synonymous with its operations.
The airline began using the type in 1990, giving the carrier the ability to respond to high demand with a 592 seat configuration. According to the SS, the 747 were part of medical flights, special missions for the UN, or cultural and sports operations.
The use of the jumbo jet opened up the airline’s doors to long-haul operations to French territories. These included Martinique, Reunion, Antilles, and more. The airline’s use of the Boeing 747 even helped to put Maho Beach of Sint Maarten on the map.
With Corsair’s retirement of the Boeing 747, the aircraft is starting to fade away sooner than anticipated. Qantas, Lufthansa, KLM and possibly British Airways have retired all or some of their 747 earlier than planned due to the impact of COVID-19.
Thus, the retirement of Corsair’s Boeing 747 is truly the end of an era.
Corsair’s future plans
Corsair’s fleet renewal plan also features an effort by the airline to be more environmentally friendly.
In a press release, the airline states, “The takeoff noise footprint will be reduced by 60%. Each year, Corsair will also contribute to improving its carbon footprint, by 94,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions by plane.”
“Finally, emissions of harmful substances emitted by NEO engines will be 18.5% lower than the ICAO standard, a differential compared to 747 by 32%,” added SS (translated from the press release into English).
As the airline navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be starting to resume some flights from June 18.
Resumption of flight on June 18
Before temporarily pausing passenger operations, SS operated their last flight on March 26th. Since then, the airline has operated repatriation and medical supply flights.
The carrier plans on resuming flights to Reunion and Antilles from June 18. Flights will be ramped up in response to demand in order to revitalize the tourism industry for the islands.
While current travel restrictions are still in place, SS plans to return to Montreal, Abidjan, and Mauritius in the coming months. Due to travel restrictions, the airline has been forced to temporarily pause flights to Miami.
Finally, the airline’s new route to New York has been postponed until Spring 2021.