DALLAS – It might just be the end of the road for the last four Boeing 747s of Air India (AI). India’s aviation regulator, DGCA, has deregistered all as these jets haven’t been operational since February of 2020.
VT-EVB – one of the four Jumbos, has apparently already made its way to the scrapping area of Mumbai Airport (BOM) but it’s still unclear what is to happen to these jets.
In 1971, the flag carrier took delivery of its first Boeing 747-200B, named Emperor Ashoka (registered VT-EBD), and introduced a new Palace in the Sky livery and branding.
The New Delhi-based airline’s Boeing 747s are now simply old, consume a ton of fuel, and also require heavy maintenance.
After 68 years, AI is now back with the TATA group, whose mission is to modernize the fleet as soon as possible, which all the more doubts the Jumbos return. A potential A350 order for AI is on the horizon.
Further, nearly all the AI jumbo jet pilots were trained and transferred to the 787 Dreamliner. Getting them back on the 747 would require extensive training and checks.
There are just a handful of carriers who carry out passenger operations on the jumbo – Lufthansa (LH), Air China (CA), Korean Air (KE), and other special ACMI or charter operators. By the look of it, there might not even be a farewell 747 flight for AI.
Featured image: An Air India Boeing 747 taking off. Photo: Brad Tisdel/Airways