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Northwest Owns Two B747-357

Sat Nov 29, 2003 4:43 am

In the FAA database, I found to my amazement that NW is listed as owner of two ex Swissair 747-357's .. c/n 22704/22705 .. current regs N270BC and N705BC.
Has NW ever operated these aircraft?

- I am LN-MOW, and I approve this message.
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RE: Northwest Owns Two B747-357

Sat Nov 29, 2003 4:44 am

They've never operated them, and never will. The planes were bought for spares, especially the JT9D engines, which are also used on their 747-200s.
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RE: Northwest Owns Two B747-357

Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:25 am

This was a strange case where NW determined that it was cheaper to buy the aircraft than it was to buy the aircraft's parts. Although NW never operated the 747-300, the 743 have many parts in common with later build 747-200s and 747-200Fs and I heard (cannot confirm) that the price paid by NW per aircraft was less than the market cost of 4 used JT9D engines. The 743s, for many years, were the pride of the Swissair fleet. Interesting story.
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RE: Northwest Owns Two B747-357

Sat Nov 29, 2003 7:37 am

Both N270BC (former HB-IGC) and N705BC (former HB-IGD) were fitted with the higher rated PW JT9D-7R4 engine which is very rare to find on a 747-200. There are only a handful of 742s with this engine, but they include NW's passenger ships 6631, 6632, 6636, 6637 and 6638 as well as cargo aircraft 6744, 6745 and 6746. All the other NW 742s are fitted with the earlier variant JT9D-7Qs which are much more common. Hence, acquiring those two airframes just for the engines and spares was a financially attractive proposition.

Additionally, both aircraft were already fitted with side cargo doors (since they were delivered to Swissair as Combi variants), which would have made the conversion to freighter an essentially painless process if NWA so desired. Alas, the aircraft were mothballed in late 1999 so don't expect them to ever fly again.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada