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The Varig 747 Saga.

Tue Feb 12, 2002 7:08 pm


I always wondered why VARIG opted very late for the 747. VARIG was always a true intercontinental airliner with flights to Europe, USA, Africa, Japan and when the 747 came VARIG didn't order it, taking in mind also that at that time a good neighbour like TAP ordered 4 and the similarities in both fleets where big - both had the 707, the 727 and even for a short period the Caravelle - so it was quite surprisingly that VARIG remained for a while without an wide-body aircraft ( only in 1974 they got their first DC-10-30 ) and they didn't got the 747. VARIG get the first 747 in 1981 when they received I guess a very nice offer to get 3 ex: Libyan Arab Airlines 747-2L5 Combies that where stored from Boeing. So after almost 12 years after the first flight of the 747 VARIG finnally bought the plane. In 1985 VARIG evoluted normally and nicely to the 747-300 buying 5 factory fresh ones, in 1991 again VARIG got a upper step when they bought 3 747-400's but only after 3 years these great 747 where sold. I don't understand why the latter series where sold instead of the older 200's that stayed until 1996. Any ideas about this interesting saga?
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RE: The Varig 747 Saga.

Wed Feb 13, 2002 6:57 am

One possible reason was until around the late 80's/early 90's, international traffic into Brazil was highly restricted by the Govt. in terms of foreign flight schedules and seat capacity. BA had to lease in 2 Air Lanka Tristar 500's for their LHR-GIG-GRU service, and Pan Am was flying Tristar 500's from MIA and JFK to Brazil.

Perhaps this was to aide Varig, but also at the time most traffic on the Brazilian runs was filled with high yield business class passengers, so there wasn't a need for a high density aircraft like the 747.