15 June 2020 is an important date for the French commercial aviation industry. Corsair International said goodbye to its Boeing 747 operations on this day after 30 years of Jumbo-jets, it was also the last French airline to operate the Queen of the Skies.
The end of two eras. Corsair has ended the operation of the Jumbo-jet after 30 years of service, as the last Boeing 747-400 operated by a French airline. Air France made its last 747 flight in 2016.
The last Boeing 747-400 of the airline, registered F-GTUI, took off in the morning from Paris Orly to Kemble, UK, to be scrapped, after a traditional water salute before its final departure. After take-off, the aircraft made also a last low-pass.
Pilots told during the departure “I would like to thank all the Orly air traffic controllers team and a small message to our colleagues, for all our Corsair colleagues, all our colleagues in general, the aviation geeks, before leaving the frequency, a big thank you to the whole Corsair staff during those 32 years, who permitted us to operate this wonderful aircraft in the best conditions.”
Orly ATC replied : “It was a pleasure for us, I hope that many people were able to hear you(…).”
F-GTUI had a total of 102,745 flight hours, carrying on more than 7 million passengers. The 2 remaining aircraft had left Orly already on 9 and 12 June.
On 19 June 1990, the first Corsair 747 service took off from Paris Charles-de-Gaulle to Pointe-à-Pitre, with a 747-100 aircraft registered F-GIMJ.
Afterwards, in 1991 and 1992, the airline acquired each year another Queen of the Skies.
In 1995 however, the first 747-100 had to leave the airline, to be replaced by a Boeing 747-200.
The same year and in 1997, Corsair acquired one Boeing 747-300, and it got its fifth Jumbo-jet in 2002.
The first Boeing 747-400, F-GTUI, arrived in 2005 and was followed by F-HSEA, F-HSEX, F-HSUN, F-HKIS and F-HLOV.
In 2014 already, Corsair announced it would retire its 3 747-400s but it just didn’t happen. However, in 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the airline was forced to withdraw them quicker than expected.
It is not the only airline to let the Queen of the Skies leaving the fleet, as both KLM and Virgin Atlantic announced to go through the same process. The Corsair ones were due to be removed in 2021.
As from today, all operations at Corsair will be operated by Airbus A330, the airline saying that the new fleet will give “more flexibility in frequencies and will give the opportunity to the airline to operate more efficient and more environment-friendly aircraft”.
Furthermore, the airline has ordered 5 Airbus A330neo aircraft, which are going to be introduced during the traffic increase.
Pascal de Izaguirre, CEO of Corsair, said “the 747 at Corsair was the aircraft of all superlatives, with the number of kilometres flown, flight hours, or the number of customers that we had the pleasure to carry. Today, we open a new page of the airline’s history and its future, built with a more modern, more efficient and more competitive fleet. It is also proof of our engagement to make more green and more environment-friendly the aviation industry.”
Arrival in the UK :
F-GTUI of Corsair on short final for @CotswoldAirport . Seconds later she performed a go around #avgeek #aviation #Corsair #Kemble #cotswold #cotswoldairport #boeing #boeing747 #landing #plane #planes #airplane #photogaphy pic.twitter.com/CaLaIpnP0B
— Enda Burke (@endaburke81) June 15, 2020