Northwest Airlines Retires 747-200 From Scheduled Passenger Service; Replaces With Modern Airbus A330
Northwest Airlines (NYSE:NWA) today is retiring its last 747-200 from scheduled revenue service. The 430-seat aircraft, which most recently operated NWA’s Tokyo Narita-Saipan route, departed Tokyo Narita yesterday at 3:35 p.m. local time as flight 8, and arrived in Seattle on-time at 8:10 a.m. today, marking the end of 747-200 trans-Pacific service.
The aircraft, 6624/N624US, which was built in 1979 and joined the Northwest fleet that year, will continue to Minneapolis/St. Paul as flight 170, which is scheduled to arrive at 5:39 p.m., where it will be officially retired from scheduled passenger service.
“The 747-200 was the mainstay of our international fleet, particularly in the Pacific, for several decades,” said Captain Lane Littrell, Northwest’s fleet training captain on the 747-200. “It has served our customers and our company well, and many of us who have flown it, worked in its cabin or maintained it have a soft spot for it. We’ll miss it even as we appreciate the improvements provided by the new generations of A330s and 747-400s.”
The two remaining 747-200s in Northwest’s fleet will operate for approximately 18 months as charter aircraft.
Modern Airbus A330 Replacing 747-200
Northwest has replaced the 747-200 with the modern Airbus A330 on the Tokyo Narita-Saipan route. The A330 provides Northwest with fuel savings, lower maintenance costs, and is a much quieter aircraft than the 747-200 it replaces. Northwest began taking delivery of new Airbus A330 aircraft in August 2003 and by the end of 2007, will have a fleet of 32 A330s, including 21 298-seat A330-300s, and 11 longer-range, 243-seat A330-200s by the end of October 2007.
Northwest’s A330s are equipped with the airline’s World Business Class lie-flat seats, more personal space in economy class seats compared to other aircraft in the fleet, and an on demand in-flight entertainment (IFE) system in both cabins. The fully interactive IFE system offers travelers a choice of 40 movies, four short-subject video programs, 56 different audio selections, six games, shopping and in-flight information, allowing customers the freedom and flexibility to start, pause or stop their selection at any time.
In World Business Class, customers are able to view any of these features on a 10.4 inch/26.4 centimeter video screen. Customers traveling in economy class are able to view these features on a personal video screen in the seatback in front of them.
World Business Class travelers enjoy an array of features including a lie-flat seat with a privacy canopy, 60 inches of space between seats, 110-volt personal laptop computer power, cycling lumbar support, a six-way adjustable headrest that slides along a track so it can be adjusted to a traveler’s height, and four seat-back storage pockets.
Northwest’s A330 economy class seat offers more personal space than any other seat in the carrier’s fleet and features a “winged” headrest, with bendable sides, allowing the customer to rest their head or sleep toward the side of the seat.
747-200 History at Northwest Airlines
Northwest began operating the 747-200 in 1975, when the airline took its first delivery of the new model jumbo jet. Northwest’s 747-200 passenger fleet peaked in size at 22 aircraft in 1997.
During their 32 years of service, Northwest’s 747-200 aircraft completed more than 320,000 flights and traveled more than one billion miles. The last two 747-200s in Northwest’s fleet will continue to operate as charter aircraft.
Northwest Airlines is one of the world’s largest airlines with hubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, Tokyo and Amsterdam, and approximately 1,400 daily departures. Northwest is a member of SkyTeam, an airline alliance that offers customers one of the world’s most extensive global networks. Northwest and its travel partners serve more than 1,000 cities in excess of 160 countries on six continents.