Tuesday, May 27, 2014

JAL retires first Boeing 777.

Japan Airlines' (JL/JAL) first 'Triple-Seven', a Boeing 777-246 registered JA8981, operated its last revenue flight on April 30th from Nagoya/Chubu Centrair (NGO/RJGG) to Tokyo/Haneda (HND/RJTT) as flight JL140. This becomes the first Japanese-registered 777 to be retired.
Boeing 777-246 JA8981 Waku Waku Aloha Jet taxies at rainy Haneda in May 2011. Although the campaign ended at the end of January, she retained these colors until July. (Photo: Ryosuke Yano)

The aircraft is the 23rd 777 to roll off the production line and completed its maiden flight on January 26th, 1996. Christened Sirius, it was delivered the following month on February 15th. JAL's domestic 777s were called 'Star Jets' and named after constellations. After the merger with Japan Air System (JD/JAS) in 2004, JA8981 received the 'Arc of the Sun' livery in summer 2007. From October 2010 to July 2011, it also flew in Waku Waku Aloha Jet special livery to promote JAL's resumption of Haneda – Honolulu (HNL/PHNL) flights after the airport was reopened for long-haul international flights.
Boeing 777-246 JA8981 Sirius rests between training flights at Grant County Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, USA. JAL's training center here was closed in March 2009. (Photo: JAL)

Sirius spent its entire 18 years with JAL flying Japan's domestic skies. Final maintenance checks have been finished, and the aircraft is currently stored at Haneda in an all-white livery awaiting a ferry flight to Goodyear (GYR/KGYR) in Arizona, U.S.A. Of their 15-strong 777-200 fleet, including seven inherited through the merger with JAS, nine are being refurbished throughout the cabin with JAL's Sky Next interiors (JAL Sky Next new domestic product unveiled.), while the other six are being phased out by March 2016, including JA8981.

How times have passed... the Triple-Seven is still a very new airplane for me.

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