747SP

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works
Date:         02 Dec 92 03:49:49 PST
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In article <airliners.1992.61@ohare.Chicago.COM> ncole@nyx.cs.du.edu (Noah Cole) writes:
>How many airlines use 747SP's today? I have a poster from Popular Mechanics
>that was around the arrival of the 747-400 with a drawing of a United
>747SP and it said that the 747SP set a record flying from Payne Field,
>Washington to South Africa.  Was that SAA? Who flies the 747SP Today
>and on what routes?

I believe United still has the largest fleet, with the ten 747SP-21s
which were acquired from Pan Am in February, 1986.  They also got a
-27 in that deal (originally owned by Braniff) but it was sold just
a few months ago.  (One reference I have shows Pan Am as having had
a grand total of 13 747SPs -- I think they had another two ex-Braniff
planes but I'm not sure.)

United first used the 747SPs on the trans-Pacific routes.  Currently,
they are used primarily for flights to South America, from JFK and
perhaps other US airports.  There's also a daily SFO-JFK round-trip.
They also tend to show up as fill-ins on random other 747 flights --
I have often flown on them SFO-ORD when they subbed for the 747-100
scheduled for the flight, and I've seen them in LHR as well.

American had a pair of 747SP-31s (built for TWA) acquired for their
DFW-NRT route.  The MD-11 is now used on that route; AA last used
their pair of SPs for JFK-LHR before retiring them last summer.

QANTAS and South African each have a pair, not surprising how far away
they are from most everything.  I think QANTAS bought theirs for SYD-
SFO or perhaps LAX, though I think the US routes are now all 747-400
or 767-300(ER).  South African actually owns five but seems to lease
them out fairly regularly.

After United and South African, Air China (mainland), China Airlines
(Taiwan), and Air Mauritius probably have the largest fleets with four
each.  I see the CAL ones at SFO on occasion.  The Air Mauritius
planes, three of which are leased from South African, are used on
routes to LHR and probably other European cities from Mauritius which
is in the Indian ocean.

Beyond that, the operators are pretty random -- Oman has one and the
United Arab Emirates have two, all of which are listed as being used
for Royal Flight.  Saudia and Korean each have a pair.  Others are
tucked away in various obscure places which I haven't yet stumbled
upon, or have and have since forgotten.

Oh yes, it was a South African 747SP delivery that held a record for
longest flight (time or distance or both) for a jetliner or some such.
That may still stand but I wouldn't be too surprised if a 747-400 had
subsequently established a new record.

-- 
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