SINGAPORE - The last Boeing 747 passenger service operated by Singapore Airlines took off Friday for a commemorative farewell return trip to Hong Kong.
Flight SQ747, carrying more than 350 passengers, was due to touch down in Singapore at 7:30 pm (1130 GMT).
SIA was one of the world's largest operators of 747s but is retiring its entire 747 fleet in favour of more modern aircraft such as the Boeing 777 and the "super jumbo" Airbus A380, now the world's largest jetliner.
"The 747 was truly the jewel in our fleet for nearly four decades, and we would not be the airline that we are today if we had not made the bold decision in 1972 to purchase this iconic jetliner," said Mak Swee Wah, SIA's executive vice president commercial.
"The jumbo enabled us to fly from Singapore to destinations that we could not previously reach.
"It also allowed us to do things that were previously unimaginable on a commercial aircraft, giving us the opportunity to provide our customers new standards in space and comfort."
SIA spokesman Nicholas Ionides told AFP the airline's cargo arm would still continue to operate its fleet of 13 Boeing 747-400 freighters.
The Singapore flag carrier placed its first order for the 747s in 1972 and took delivery the following year, the statement said.