A National Airlines Boeing 747F left the Arizona desert for the first time in seven years on Monday, bound for Texas, where it will undergo major maintenance before resuming freight transport.
As more and more Jumbo Jets are withdrawn from service due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 28-year-old American company’s Boeing 747-400BCF flew on July 27, 2020, from Pinal Airpark (MZJ) to reach San Antonio Airport (SAT), a 115-minute flight. According to National Airlines, he will spend a lot of maintenance there; the continuation of his operations has not been disclosed.
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The Boeing 747 registered N756CA has a long history behind it: entered service as a passenger carrier in June 1992 with Singapore Airlines (9V-SMM), it remained at Singapore-Changi Airport until early 2007 when he was transferred to Dragonair (a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong). It was then converted to a cargo plane (BCF, Boeing Converted Freighter) in 2009, then resumed service in February 2010 with Cathay Pacific (B-KAF), before being sent in April 2013 to the desert; it was then taken over by Boeing Aircraft Holding Company, the branch of the manufacturer in charge of managing unused aircraft.
Florida-based National Airlines finally acquired the aircraft last April and took it off Monday after seven years of forced and enforced rest in Arizona. Its major maintenance will last 45 days and will employ 250 people, she said on social networks.
Excited to announce that National Airlines N756CA flew today for the first time in 7 years 😍✈️ Our Chief Pilot and Co-Pilot successfully operated our @Boeing 747’s first flight into San Antonio where she will undergo a 45 day heavy maintenance – employing 250 people #USAStrong pic.twitter.com/5y9RWVSyap
— National Airlines (@GoNationalAir) July 27, 2020
The airline’s fleet includes four other Boeing 747Fs as well as a Boeing 757-200 and an Airbus A330-200 used for charter flights. In 2013, one of its 747s crashed in Afghanistan, killing all seven on board; The investigation had concluded that the loose cargo had shifted, causing a fatal stall.