Cathay Pacific retires Boeing 747-400 on North American routes

Cathay Pacific Airways bid farewell to "the Queen of the Skies," the Boeing 747-400, nearly 30 years after first touching down at San Francisco International Airport in July 1986.


Boeing 747-400 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Queen of the Skies San Francisco


Cathay Pacific Airways bid farewell to “the Queen of the Skies,” the Boeing 747-400, nearly 30 years after first touching down at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in July 1986.

The sole remaining Cathay Pacific 747-400 in North America made its final voyage from SFO to Hong Kong last Sunday, 31 August, when flight CX879 took off at 1:45pm PDT. Beginning today, September 1, CX879 will join SFO’s other daily flight (CX873) and Cathay Pacific’s six other North American gateways (Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, Toronto and Vancouver) in a 100 per cent Boeing 777-300ER operation. Boston, which will become the airline’s seventh North American gateway in May 2015, will also offer a 777-300ER service four times per week. Cathay Pacific will continue to operate the Boeing 747-8 freighter fleet for cargo flights to 15 cities across the Americas.

Cathay Pacific made its first direct order for the 747-200 series from Boeing in February 1978 and the first aircraft arrived in Hong Kong in mid-1979. In the 1980s, thanks to the Boeing 747, Cathay Pacific expanded its international network to include San Francisco, Vancouver, London, Brisbane, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome, Paris, Zurich and Manchester.

Cathay Pacific was the first airline to operate a non-stop flight from New York JFK to Hong Kong over the North Pole in June 1998 — known as “Polar One” — to commemorate the opening of the new Hong Kong International Airport.