TAIPEI — The illustrious history of EVA Airways’ Boeing 747-400 combi aircraft came to an end Monday after the airline’s last combi plane in service completed a flight from Hong Kong.
The airline had 10 such aircraft in its fleet at one point but they are being replaced by more fuel-efficient long-distance planes, such as the Boeing 777-300ER.
As with its other planes in the combi fleet, the final passenger-cargo combi aircraft will be sold to other aviation companies, the airline said.
EVA Air first introduced the model in 1993 and had the fleet transport the artworks of Pablo Picasso, Jean-Francois Millet and Vincent van Gogh.
The aircraft were also used to ship koalas from Australia, red-crowned cranes from Japan, and the famous panda pair Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan from China in late 2008.
��It is the 747-400 combi aircraft that helped Taiwan accomplish the task of transporting the endangered animals that we take pride in,�� Taipei Zoo Director Jason Chin said during the plane’s retirement ceremony at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
The Boeing 747-400 combi aircraft, which could carry 276 passengers, has a locked partition that separates the cargo area from the forward passenger cabin, enabling keepers to check the animals’ conditions easily, EVA Air said.