Vietnam scraps historic Boeing after 30 years

Thanh Nien News

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A Boeing 707 used through the years of the Vietnam War and until just afterwards is being cut up for scrap in Ho Chi Minh City.
A group of workers Tuesday came to the spot where it had lain abandoned on Hong Ha Street near Tan Son Nhat Airport, removing its tail and wings and cutting the body into pieces.
One of them said a company belonging to the defense ministry had hired them to do the job but he was not clear how the parts would be used.
It was the first and only aircraft of the model used in Vietnam.
The US company says on its website that the model, built between 1958 and 1979, was the first jetliner to be commercially successful.
Phan Tuong, former general director of the Civil Aviation Authority of South Vietnam, told Tuoi Tre newspaper that Pan Am airways had seized the plane from the US-backed Saigon regime as part of a debt recovery effort.
After the war ended on April 30, 1975, when Vietnam closed off its airspace to US flights, the US government negotiated with Major-General Tran Manh, the then general director of the Civil Aviation Authority, to allow its planes to fly over Vietnam.
Vietnam acceded to the request, and the US returned the airplane seized by Pan Am.
The local government later relabeled the aircraft VN-A304.
It was used until around 1980, when the government decided that it was no longer fit for commercial use and left it at the current site after removing the engine and control center for use at the city’s flight training center.
Its history has drawn local and foreign visitors alike and someone even ran a café under it until recently.
Following are more photos taken by a Thanh Nien's reporter at the site on June 17. Work on cutting up the plane for scrap is expected to last for one week.

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