The last 747-400 passenger aircraft in Taiwan will soon enter retirement so a “Farewell My Queen” send-off party was held by China Airlines on the morning of April 12. Chairman Su-chien Hsieh and top executives from China Airlines along with a hundred Dynasty members and retired employees were on hand to pay their respects to the Queen of the Skies and witness the retirement of the 747-400 from the China Airlines fleet.
Chairman Hsieh said that the 747-400 has provided an exemplary flying experience to the carrier’s passengers over the last 30 years. The past year has been a very trying period with the COVID-19 pandemic so the carrier has focused on improving its overall operational efficiency. The retirement of the 747-400 represents a changing of the guard in the China Airlines fleet. As the airline industry begins to recover, China Airlines is now ready to welcome travelers and compete in the market for air travel through improved service quality and efficiency.
President Kao, also a 747-400 captain, thanked the 747-400 for its extraordinary contribution to Taiwan and China Airlines, as well as all the wonderful memories that it brought the airline and travelers. To pilots, the 747-400 was a very safe and stable aircraft to fly. China Airlines will continue to embrace this commitment to aviation safety and follow the principle of sustainability in optimizing its operations to satisfy all demand for air travel.
The “Farewell My Queen” event started with a documentary on the last passenger-carrying flight of the 747-400. Cabin crew also wore classic China Airlines uniforms from different eras as a tribute to the enduring legacy of this great aircraft. To say goodbye to the Queen of the Skies and an old friend, China Airlines executives invited all Dynasty members and retired China Airlines employees on the day to line up and form the numbers “747”.
A gallery of old 747-400 photos was also set up by China Airlines. Ya-ling Chen, a senior cabin crew instructor, served as the guide and said that the 747-400 carried many people overseas during Taiwan’s “Economic Miracle.” To many of her colleagues, their memories of transoceanic routes were inextricably interwoven with the 747. The First Class cabin attendant training unique to the 747 that she underwent was a high honor that cabin attendants aspired to. Chen was therefore very grateful to the 747-400 for this crowning moment of her career.
“I am sad to see her go!” Many of the retired employees invited to attend the event said that the 747 fleet was about more than just superior performance. It transformed the global airline ecosystem and gave more people the chance to fly around the world. They were delighted that a farewell party was held by the company giving them the chance to see the Queen of the Skies once more.
Professional photographers were on hand during the event to record the participants and take their pictures with the China Airlines 747-400. A quiz was held by China Airlines to give away limited-edition commemorative prizes such as 747-400 model aircraft, baseball caps and canvas bags.
747 fans were given the opportunity to sign the underbelly of the aircraft. All the guests and employees formed a queue to write down their well wishes for the 747 Queen of the Skies. At 13:30, the 747-400 passenger aircraft rolled slowly out of the China Airlines maintenance hangar and into history, carrying with it all the wonderful memories of China Airlines travelers. The people lucky enough to witness the departure all waved goodbye to the “Forever Queen of the Skies.” This classic and irreplaceable aircraft will live on in the hearts of every traveler from now on.