Indeed, you can count the 747 operators in the Americas on one hand: Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air Canada, Northwest, Surinam Airways and United. I don't know the latest on Surinam's sole 743. But that would be yet another tangeant on this thread further deviating from that VARIG's 747s.
The history of RG
's 747s is as follows:
-VNA B747-2L5B 1981-1993, 1994-1996 (lsd for one year to AR
-VNB B747-2L5B 1981-1996
-VNC B747-2L5B 1981-1996
-VNW B747-244B 1987-1988 (lsd from SA
-VNH B747-341 1985-2000
-VNI B747-341 1985-2000
-VOA B747-341 1988-2000
-VOB B747-341 1988-2000
-VOC B747-341 1988-2000
-VPI B747-475 1991-1994
-VPG B747-441 1992-1994
-VPH B747-441 1993-1994
Some of the -300s were combis, I don't remember which. It's true, the 747s gradually left the fleet as RG
began slipping into the red. They had ordered a total of 6 B747-441s, only two of which arrived, and one of which was in service for barely a year. Remember that at the start of the '90s, RG
had perhaps the largest and most modern wide-body fleet in Latin America (I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure), comprising B747-200/300s, B767-200ER/300ERs and a large fleet of DC-10s.
As soon as the '90s arrived, RG
remained at the forefront of technological developments, acquiring B747-400s and MD
-11s soon after their respective launch dates of 1989 and 1990.
But the bubble burst. RG
, for all its pretences to be, was not a First World carrier. The thriftless expenditure during the "good times" drained much of RG
's capital, and coupled with a slump in profits, prompted a massive but prudent donwsizing in the late '90s which saw off all the 747s and all the 767-200ERs, while post-9/11 several 767-300ERs and MD
-11s have left the fleet too.
As any Brazilian can tell you, the carrier is performing badly, and has posted many consecutive years of losses.
And yes, for now, AR
's 747-400 LV
-ALJ is at this moment the only one in all of Latin America. God knows when AR
's 2nd, 3rd and 4th will arrive!