Home Asia Which Asian Airlines Flew Classic Boeing 747s?

Which Asian Airlines Flew Classic Boeing 747s?

by Matt Falcus

When the Boeing 747 came onto the scene in the late 1960s, it would unlock great potential in air travel. Suddenly airlines were able to carry huge numbers of passengers over great (or even short) distances in comfort, and at affordable prices.

The early Boeing 747s are known today as the ‘classics’. This term encompasses the Boeing 747-100, -200B, -300 and SP models.

The 747 was incredibly popular with airlines across Asia and the Far East, many of which were carrying large numbers of passengers between their growing hubs and major airports. The jumbo jet was perfect for this role.

Here are the Asian airlines which flew these classic Boeing 747s

Air China

Kambui, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

747-200B and 747SP


Air India

Air India 747-200747-100, 200B, -300


All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways | Boeing 747-200 | JA8182 | Hong Kong Kai Tak

747-100, -200B



CAAC 747SP at Gatwick. Photo (c) Martyn Cartledge

747SP, -200B


Cathay Pacific

VR-HIK Cathay Pacific 747-300 (CNS/YBCS)

Photo (c) Alan Edwards

747-200B, -300


China Airlines

Ted Quackenbush (GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html> or GFDL 1.2 <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html>), via Wikimedia Commons

747-100, SP, -200B


Garuda Indonesia

Photo (c) Martyn Cartledge



Japan Air Lines

JA8112 Heathrow 8-3-1986

747-100, SP, -200B, -300


Japan Asia Airlines

Boeing | Japan Asia Airways | 747-300 | JA8185 | Yokoso! Japan livery | Hong Kong | VHHH | HKG

747-100, -300


Korean Air

Korean Airlines Boeing 747-200; HL7458@ZRH, August 1987/ DXK

747SP, -200B, -300


Malaysia Airlines

9M-MHI Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747-236B at FRA 1985 (Rescanned)

747-100, -200B, -300


Mandarin Airlines

B-1862 747SP-09 "Mandarin Airlines"



Orient Thai Airlines

Orient Thai | Boeing 747-200 | HS-UTB | Hong Kong International

747-100, -200B, -300


Philippine Airlines

Pedro Aragão, CC BY-SA 3.0 GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons



Singapore Airlines


747-200B, -300


Thai Airways International

Thai Airways Boeing 747-200; HS-TGS@HKG, January 1996

747-200B, -300


Into the 1990s, airlines across Asia started to introduce the Boeing 747-400 which became a very popular replacement for older models in the region. Nevertheless, the 747 classics soldiered on into the early 2000s.


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MERVYN CROWE April 29, 2021 - 3:04 am

Hi Matt, managed to fly on MH 747-400s; CATHAY 200/300 and 400 versions, and SQ 200/300 versions.
Lucky enough to do jump seat on SQ and CX on two occasions, departure out of HKG Kai Tak was spectacular !
Have photographed most of the others listed there.

Alan Edwards April 29, 2021 - 6:34 am

Hi Matt
I think that’s my Cathay 747-300 picture from Flickr. You’re welcome to use it but I would like a credit as it’s copyright.

Matt Falcus April 29, 2021 - 11:48 am

Hi Alan, I’m so sorry. I embedded it from Flickr and in the past this automatically added the photographer name and link back to your Flickr. I’m not sure why it didn’t happen this time. I’ve added your name and copyright notice now. Thanks for your understanding and allowing me to use it!

Hashim Sultan June 21, 2022 - 10:42 am

Why have you excluded Pakistan International Airlines from the list? Between 1976 and 2015 PIA operated three variants of the Jumbo Jet.

747-200 Combi


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