anna.aero reports from on-board last ever DC-10 commercial flight

Biman Bangladesh Airlines MD and host for the pleasure flights Kevin Steele (right), along with anna.aero’s Editor Marc Watkins (left).

Biman Bangladesh Airlines MD and host for the pleasure flights Kevin Steele (right), along with anna.aero’s Editor Marc Watkins (left). Steele has been in post the airline for the past year, with a long history of senior airline management experience including time at British Airways, Etihad Airways and Arik Air, but even he admitted that the last DC-10 flight was a tear jerking occasion.

Delivered new to Biman Bangladesh Airlines in 1988, the last commercially operated passenger DC-10-30 — S2-ACR ‘New Era’ — flew a series of eight farewell pleasure flights from Birmingham Airport over the extended weekend of 22-24 February. Birmingham was chosen to host the farewell services as it will become Biman’s newest international destination in the summer when it launches twice-weekly flights to Dhaka and New York JFK using its brand new 777-300s. Birmingham will become only the third UK airport to have direct flights to New York JFK and offer the only non-stop service between the UK and Bangladesh outside of London.

#445 out of 446

The DC-10 first entered commercial service in 1971. S2-ACR was the 445th aircraft to be built out of a total of 446, including 60 for the US Air Force serving as airborne tankers. It easily outsold its competing three-engined wide-bodied rival, the Lockheed Tristar. The DC-10 was followed by the MD-11, a developed successor, of which 200 were built, some are still in airline service today.

The first DC-10 to visit Birmingham was on 30 November 1972 when a Laker Airways DC-10-10 G-AZZC made a demonstration flight for the travel trade. In the intervening years, many DC-10s have visited Birmingham including those from CP Air, Wardair, Airtours, Monarch Airlines and Continental Airlines.

Close to 1,300 passengers from 52 nations were treated to one hour ‘scenic’ flights on the DC-10 over three days.

1302hrs — Close to 1,300 passengers from 52 countries were treated to one hour ‘scenic’ flights on the DC-10 over three days, taking in the sights of northern England, up towards Glasgow before looping back down to Birmingham (Image courtesy of Gordon Stretch).

This commemorative cake was baked to signify the departure of the old DC-10.

1359hrs — Sweet retirement, sweet arrival: A commemorative cake signifying the departure of the old — the DC-10 at the top of the cake — and the arrival of the new — the 777-300 at the bottom — was given to the passengers on board the last flight (Image courtesy of Stewart Writtle Photography).

Birmingham Airport’s Aviation Development and Strategy Manager Tom Screen (right) with anna.aero’s Editor Marc Watkins.

1430hrs — The man that brought Biman to Birmingham – the airport’s Aviation Development and Strategy Manager Tom Screen (right) with anna.aero’s Editor Marc Watkins (Image courtesy of Gordon Stretch).

Birmingham CEO Paul Kehoe (right) with anna.aero's Marc Watkins.

1444hrs — You’re going to need a bigger runway for that. Birmingham CEO Paul Kehoe (right) would be happy to welcome more long-haul services once his £40m 400m runway extension is complete later this spring (Image courtesy of Gordon Stretch).

Birmingham Airport Communications Manager Justine Howl boarding the DC-10.

1449hrs — Don’t make me go! Birmingham Airport Communications Manager Justine Howl isn’t a great flyer, but even she couldn’t resist the temptation of flying on the DC-10 (Image courtesy of Stewart Writtle Photography).

Biman cabin and flight crew.

1455hrs — One last warm welcome from the Biman cabin and flight crew (Image courtesy of Gordon Stretch).

The safety briefing taking part on board.

1513hrs — The final flight, scheduled for a 1500 departure, left slightly late, but still technically on schedule. Normal safety briefing ensued.

The hundreds of aircraft enthusiasts that were present over the three days of flights to witness the historic DC-10 aircraft.

1517hrs — Hundreds of aircraft enthusiasts were present over the three days of flights to witness the historic aircraft completing its final journeys (Image courtesy of Gordon Stretch).

Passengers aboard the last flight included BBC radio DJ Janice Long.

1541hrs — Passengers on board the last flight included BBC radio DJ Janice Long, who, in a previous life, worked as cabin crew on a DC-10 (Image courtesy of Stewart Writtle Photography).

A view out of the window from 24,000 ft up.

1558hrs — 24,000ft up, somewhere over Scotland.

A rare glimpse of a working DC-10 cockpit.

1601hrs — Passengers were treated to a rare glimpse of a working cockpit during their experience (Image courtesy of Gordon Stretch).

The double ‘Arch of Triumph’ to mark the arrival of the last ever commercial flight on the DC-10.

1625hrs — Double ‘Arch of Triumph’ to mark the arrival of the last ever commercial flight on the DC-10. Good practice for the Birmingham Airport firefighters when the 777-300-operated Dhaka and New York JFK services start in June (Image courtesy of Laurence Jones).

Birmingham’s CEO Paul Kehoe shaking hands with Biman’s MD Kevin Steele.

1641hrs — Before you go Kevin. With services to New York JFK and Dhaka sorted, Birmingham’s CEO Paul Kehoe is seen here twisting the arm of Biman’s MD Kevin Steele for a transiting Toronto service too. Outside of New York, the Canadian city has the biggest Bangladeshi population in North America. (Image courtesy of Stewart Writtle Photography)

The DC-10 aircraft on the tarmac for the last time.

1802hrs — The end of a day, the end of an era. On 25 February, the DC-10 aircraft was flown non-stop back to Dhaka where its parts will be sold. The aircraft departed Birmingham at 1852 on its last ever flight.


Comments

  1. PETE HOPKINS says:

    Farewell old lady. You have served us well

  2. This is great coverage for a historic moment in civil aviation history so … thank you all at ANNA!
    It would also be remis not to mention Mr Steele’s (and team) fantastic marketing idea to use these last D10 flights as a means to introduce the new DAC-BHX-JFK operation soon to be launched. I wonder what the FUD figures will be on this multi-sector route but of course, that is classified info even for avition enthusiasts/analysts! It does indeed appear that at last BG is going places with the arrival of Mr Steele and I truly hope it will not be long before he attains one of the clear objectives he mentioned to the press shortly after his appointment: “I want Biman to win an award as soon as possible” (or thereabouts). Kevin, best of luck with the BHX-JFK route and the combined FCO/FRA service soon to arrive. Surprised you did not decide to schedule triangular routings with this twice weekly op to deliver an equal/balanced product to the Germans & Italians! I guess the strong ethnic market in Italy dictates what is best! Finally, was under the impression (as per BG website) the D10 was to stay in BHX or the UK in a museum once the last of the joy flights had been completed yet here you mention it flew back to DAC … to be cannibalised for spares…? Grateful if this could be clarified and if it would be freighter airlines who would benefit from the spares given that BG’s D10 operated the last scheduled pax service.

  3. James Pearson says:

    Hi Marc,

    Great coverage as always. And what a great and memorable last-ever revenue-generating flight for the DC-10. I was on the same flight as you and saw you and had planned to chat, but sadly I couldn’t get past the hordes.

    James.

  4. Chito Rodriguez says:

    There is life beyond commercial flight. Come join other DC-10s in the fire service. Become a world class and much cherished air tanker.

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