Last Thursday (26), a Boeing 747-400 very famous in internet images was filmed as it came to life again as it took off from Teruel Airport, in Spain, the largest aircraft storage center in Europe.
Although operationally it is a Jumbo like any other, the aircraft belonged to the extinct Russian airline TransAero, which decorated it with a very striking and emblematic livery: that of the Siberian Tiger.
The aircraft, registered under the registration EI-XLN, had been stored in Teruel since 2015 along with 25 other aircraft of the TransAero airline, after the company’s closure.
The Jumbo seen in the video above left for Zaragoza, about 20 minutes from Teruel, for a final maintenance inspection before heading to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, to integrate the portfolio of Aquiline International Corporation, which a year ago announced the acquisition of three former Boeing 747s from TransAero.
The Emirati company will convert the three jets from passenger aircraft to freighters. At Aquiline, they will be operated by Moldova-based Terra Avia, according to Aviacionline. There is no information indicating whether the tiger livery will be kept on the front section of the aircraft.
Terra Avia, founded in 2005, offers chartered passenger and cargo flights. It became relevant during the COVID-19 health crisis when it started to transport medical supplies from China to different parts of the world, such as Brazil and Spain, with a Boeing 747-400 BDSF (BeDek Special Freighter, or BeDek Special Freighter, one of the companies responsible for aircraft conversions).
The Siberian Tiger on Boeing 747s
The Boeing 747-400 was delivered new to Singapore Airlines, registered under registration 9V-SPP, in June 2001, where it operated until 2012, when it was acquired by TransAero.
In spring 2015, the Amur Tiger Center and TransAero Airlines presented a project on protecting the environment and protecting rare and endangered species. The project was called “Flight of the Tiger”, when the 747-400 with a Siberian tiger on its nose was revealed.
With the flashy livery, it quickly became a very attractive aircraft and coveted by enthusiasts and passengers alike. However, the end of the airline came later in the same year, in the fall of 2015, when TransAero ended its operations, given the economic difficulties it had been facing.
More than two dozen planes flew over Europe, from Moscow to Teruel, in the following weeks, including the feline protagonist, putting an end to Russia’s second-largest airline.
It is worth remembering that, despite the stoppage of the EI-XLN, the following year the Amur Tiger Center closed a new partnership with the Russian Rossiya Airlines, painting the EI-XLD aircraft with the same image of the Siberian Tiger.
According to data from the RadarBox online tracking platform , this Rossiya 747-400 was still flying until this year, but has not taken off since March 7, possibly as a result of the sanctions imposed against Russian aviation due to the war.
In the video below, it is possible to remember the painting process of the TransAero and Rossiya Boeing 747-400s: