Despite being launch customer for the 747-400 Northwest kept the faith with its 747 Classics and actively acquired several new examples. In July 1996 three ex-Singapore Airlines aircraft joined the fleet, two being 747-212Bs (N641 & N642NW) and one being a 747-249F. She became N643NW - the 43rd and last 747-100/200 in the Northwest fleet. She was painted into an 'Investing in World trade' scheme as you can see below right:
By this time Northwest was operating in the bowling shoe livery and several of the earlist 747-151s had already left the fleet. Eight of the twelve 747-100s were retired in 1994/95 including both the ex-National 747-135s. The last 747-151 in service appears to have been N601US itself which operated its last revenue service on September 25, 2000. Her cockpit has since been saved and is on display at the Smithsonian Museum.
The 747-251Bs also began to leave service towards the end of the 1990s with the first to go, N611US, operating her last revenue service on November 27, 1998. Their numbers gradually dwindled through the early 2000s and the remaining aircraft could be found more and more operating charter services. The pair of ex-Singapore 212Bs survived until 2007.
The last scheduled service operated by a 747-251B was operated on September 12, 2007 operating from Tokyo-Minneapolis via Seattle. The aircraft was N624US which was one of a pair kept on for charter services. She wasn't finally withdrawn until November 28, 2009 and was the last passenger classic 747 in the Northwest fleet, and the only one that transferred to Delta ownership when Northwest ceased to exist.
30/1/2016 09:42:38 pm
Northwest's operation of 747's is a happy part of US aviation history. In the 1970's, my mom took a trip to Minneapolis, and came back with a bunch of MSP postcards for me showing NW DC-10's and 747's.
6/4/2016 01:47:20 am
I also know that Northwest airlines was the last major airline to operate the Boeing 727 (retired in 2003) and McDonnell Douglas DC-10 (retired in 2006-07). The DC-9 fleet lingered after the 2008 Delta merger.with the 30 and 40 series being retired in 2010-11. The DC9-51s were the last holdouts of the North Central/Republic/Northwest/Delta fleet of DC-9s, retired in 2014.
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I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: