Monday, January 13, 2014

ANA Boeing 747 makes final visit to Itami.

As planned, All Nippon Airways (NH/ANA) carried out 'Okaeri! Jumbo' at Osaka/Itami (ITM/RJOO) on January 12th, as part of the airline's 'Final 747: Thanks Jumbo!' series of events commemorating the retirement of the Boeing 747.
The Captains of the scenic flight and the staff who came up with the event. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

The chosen jumbo-jet was Boeing 747-481/D JA8961, which took off from Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) at 0629 local time without any passengers and touched down at Itami at 0722. It was towed to ANA's Itami maintenance hangar for a tour and close-up photo opportunities of the jetliner for 240 lucky enthusiasts (120 pairs) from 0915 to 1200. People who bought more than 1,000 JPY at the Itami ANA Festa shop were eligible to apply for the pick. On site were Captains Mr. Inoue and Mr. Yamamoto, who would be at the controls of the historic flight, as well as Mrs. Waki of ANA's Osaka operations service, who came up with the event, answering interviews and photo requests.
NH2051, B747-481/D JA8961 receives a water cannon salute upon arrival. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

After that, the aircraft was moved to Gate 13 where a farewell ceremony took place, followed by boarding for flight NH2051, a sightseeing flight for 400 locals (200 pairs) chosen from over 5,000 applicants living in the nearby cities of Ikeda, Itami, Kawanishi, Takarazuka, and Toyonaka. Eventually, 471 passengers, including the mayors of each city, local media, and ANA staff, boarded the airplane. Push-back started at 1403, and the aircraft took off at 1427. Cruising at 6,000 meters (20,000 feet), JA8961 headed northeast, flying near Tokyo where Izu Oshima, Mount Fuji, Tokyo Sky Tree, Rainbow Bridge, and the skyscrapers of Tokyo and Yokohama were well visible. The scenic flight touched down back at Itami at 1545, when passengers gave a big round of applause to the crew and the aircraft, and after receiving a traditional water cannon salute, came to a stop at Gate 10 at 1550. The aircraft was ferried back to Haneda later in the evening.
One of the images on ANA's 'Final 747: Thanks Jumbo!' website. (Image: ANA)

'Okaeri' translates to 'welcome back'. ANA brought back the 565-seat jumbo jetliner to Itami for the first and last time since March 31st, 2006, when tri-jets and quad-jets were banned from the airport to reduce noise footprint. The airline obtained a one-day quad-jet permission from the local governments for this purpose. On this day, thousands of people from aviation enthusiasts to locals gathered around the airport to catch a glimpse of history. Two B747-400Ds remain with ANA and the last day of operations will be March 31st, putting an end to 35 years of B747 service with ANA, and 44 years of passenger B747 flights in Japan.

Source: Aviation Wire (in Japanese)
Source: Traicy (in Japanese) 

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