Nippon Cargo Airlines – the only way to see a Japanese 747 still

Last October I did a post about British Airways’ retiring its last passenger 747 plane and more recently I have done posts about China Airlines, ANA, and KLM retiring their 747s. This time, I’m turning my attention from passenger planes to freight planes – and a Japanese airline which still (as of 2021) has 747s flying in Japan – Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA).

According to the information on Wikipedia, NCA was established on September 21, 1978 (its head office was initially a single room inside All Nippon Airways’ space at the Kasumigaseki Building) and started operations in 1985. It was Japan’s first all-cargo airline. Over time, their network has grown to include many cities on three continents. Initially, NCA was a joint venture of shipping companies headed by Nippon Yusen and All Nippon Airways (ANA). In August 2005, ANA sold its stake to Nippon Yusen. The airline is owned by Nippon Yusen (100%). In December 2010, NCA was selected to provide ground support services for the Japanese Air Force One aircraft, replacing Japan Airlines which was then in the process of retiring its 747 fleet (to be discussed in another post).

Thanks to the fairly regular schedules that planes keep, I have seen NCA planes landing or taking off many times when I have been photographing planes at Narita Airport waiting to take my own flight back to the UK (although, as I have been using Haneda more in recent years, the photographs here are from 2011 and 2013).

I also captured an NCA plane approaching Kansai International Airport while I was taking photographs at Kobe Airport.

Hopefully NCA will continue to operate 747s for some time yet. In the meantime, you can also see AirBridgeCargo 747s in Japan too.

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