10
$\begingroup$

The very first jetliners (Comet, Tu-104, Caravelle I-VI, 707-120/-220/-320, DC-8 series 10-30, original 720, CV-880) all used turbojet engines, turbofans not being available until later; when turbofans became a viable option, jetliner manufacturers switched over to turbofans en masse for their new designs (including the later versions of the Caravelle, 707/720, and DC-8), and some of the older, turbojet-powered airliners were converted to also use turbofans, but many already-built jetliners continued to fly under turbojet power for decades.

I have been unable to ascertain precisely how long subsonic1 turbojet-powered airliners continued to carry paying passengers in regular service. Wikipedia says that the Tu-104 was withdrawn from passenger service in March 1979, and the Comet last carried paying passengers in 1981, but does not provide a citation for either statement, and I have been unable to find any information as to when the other turbojetliners were retired from passenger service.

Can someone help with this?


  1. Yes, I am aware that the Concorde used turbojets; it does not count for the purposes of this question, as it was a supersonic aircraft, cruising at Mach 2, where turbojets are actually more efficient than turbofans, whereas this question concerns those early subsonic aircraft that were only built with turbojets because turbofans were not yet an option.

EDIT: The original intent of this question was to ask when the last subsonic turbojetliners in scheduled passenger service anywhere in the world were retired, but John K's comment raises the good point that these aircraft would have hung on in the dusty corners of the globe for a good long while after they were retired in places like the U.S. or western Europe. Therefore:

When were paying passengers last flown in scheduled service on subsonic turbojet-powered airliners...

  1. ...in First and Second World countries (U.S., Canada, Europe, East Asia, Australasia)?
  2. ...anywhere in the world?

EDIT 2: The Trident 3B also does not count, as it was mostly turbofan-powered, using the turbojet only as an additional booster on takeoff for hot-and-high operations.

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You'd have to define locality, because most of the obsolete stuff retired in North America would end up in South America for another couple of decades and you'd have seen old turbojet DC8s and such down there hauling freight probably into the 90s. $\endgroup$ – John K Nov 1 '18 at 0:47
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK: Good point. Edited. $\endgroup$ – Sean Nov 1 '18 at 21:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Perhaps related $\endgroup$ – Dave Nov 1 '18 at 21:53
3
$\begingroup$

As far as the T-104, Aeroflot retired the Tu-104 from civil service in March 1979 however it wasn't until after the Pushkin crash in February 7th 1981 that killed 52 people that the type was permanently removed from service.

Follow-up / safety actions

The remaining military Tu-104 aircraft were grounded following this accident.

Source: https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19810207-0

The last commercial passenger flight of the Comet 4 was by Dan Air on November 9th 1980.

Comet 4s flew with BOAC until 1965 and with British airline Dan Air until 1980.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170404-the-british-airliner-that-changed-the-world

To answer the actual question of the last in service, that appears to be the B707 for all countries.

Trans World Airlines flew the last scheduled 707 flight for passengers by a US carrier on October 30, 1983

An era in U.S. aviation ended at 3:25 p.m. on Oct. 30, when TWA Flight 4, the last Boeing 707 to fly for a scheduled airline in the continental U.S., touched down at New York City's Kennedy International Airport.

Source: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,952267,00.html

Saha Airlines of Iran was the last airline to keep 707s in scheduled passenger service until April 2013.

All flights of Iranian airline SAHA have been stopped due to its outdated aircrafts. The airline, which has been established by the Air Force of Iran, has operated for 23 years, but the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran stopped its operation due to outdated aircrafts. SAHA owns four planes, including three Boeing 707s with an average age of 36.8 years.

Source: http://www.payvand.com/news/13/apr/1165.html

$\endgroup$
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Only the earlier 707 versions used turbojets, the others had turbofans. Saha was using the 707-320C in 2013 and still does for cargo flights. For noise and efficiency reasons the turbojet versions were probably replaced by turbofan ones some time before the 707 was removed from service. $\endgroup$ – fooot Apr 23 at 20:54
3
$\begingroup$

The final turbojet-powered aircraft to carry passengers was an Aerotours Dominicano Boeing 707-020 (early name for the Boeing 720). Registration N8711E. Retired sometime between 1986 and 1996. The final turbojet-powered aircraft to carry cargo was an Airborne Express Caravelle 6R. Registration N902MW. Retired in 2002. Hope this answers your question!

$\endgroup$
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.SE! Do you have any sources for these details? $\endgroup$ – fooot Jul 30 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Koyovis: Which is relevant how, exactly? $\endgroup$ – Sean Jul 31 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ Would an aircraft flying for a Dominican Republic airline be registered with an "N" number, or would it begin with something else? $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Jul 31 at 18:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.