Sad to see these go:
Qantas to retire six Boeing 747s
Australia's largest airline Qantas Airways Ltd will retire six of its international Boeing 747 aircraft earlier than planned and will bring forward the receipt of three new planes.
The airline on Friday announced the next step in its 10-year fleet plan, under which it planned to spend $US4.6 billion ($A8.85 billion) on 31 new aircraft.
Qantas chief executive officer Geoff Dixon said six international carriers would be retired at the end of this year, in order to significantly reduce the high maintenance costs of the old aircraft.
"The B747-SPs are among the oldest aircraft in the Qantas fleet and require a considerable amount of maintenance," Mr Dixon said.
"The early retirement of these aircraft will also allow for capacity reductions at a time when the global economy is slowing."
The company will retire its two B747-SP aircraft in November and December this year, and four B747-200s will be retired in 2003 instead of in 2006/07 as originally planned.
Qantas also announced it would bring forward the delivery of three Boeing 747-400ER aircraft ordered as part of its 10 year fleet plan, unveiled last November.
Qantas is the launch customer for the B747-400ER aircraft, which has a longer range than conventional 747 aircraft.
The expedited delivery of the three B747-400ERs in the first half of 2003 was in addition to the scheduled delivery of three B747-400ERs in late 2002 and early 2003.
"These actions will significantly increase the efficiency of our network," Mr Dixon said.
"For example, the longer range B747-400ERs will fly between Los Angeles and the east coast of Australia with significantly greater passenger and freight loads than is possible with conventional 747 aircraft."
Qantas shares closed 10 cents higher at $3.00 on Friday.
©  AAP Infomation Service Pty Limited ("AAP")
Who else has ordered the 747-400ER?