With many commercial jets grounded due to the massive drop in air travel, it looks like the world's fleet of Boeing 747 passenger aircraft is now being retired. It has been a slow death for the "Queen of the skies", as airlines switch to buying medium-sized twin-engine planes instead, such as the 787 Dreamliner, the Airbus A320neo, and the Airbus A350. These models are far easier to fill and cheaper to fly and maintain than the 747.

I recall flying the 747-400 from Los Angeles to Sydney not long after introducing it in 1989. You could fly non-stop from Los Angeles airport to Sydney for the first time, an overnight flight of around 15 hours. Leaving LA in the evening, you arrive back in Sydney two mornings later, after losing 24 hours of your life as you cross the international dateline.

Many airlines already had plans to retire their fleets of 747s. However, with many of these great planes sitting on tarmacs worldwide, they are being retired immediately from service. They are being flown to aircraft graveyards where they will be scrapped and their engines recycled for parts.

The Boeing 747 is beautiful, distinctive and has half a century of proud service behind it. But as a passenger plane, it is also quite simply outdated.