A UK supermarket chain owned by global consumables giant Wal-Mart has repainted a retired Boeing 747-200 in its livery, to mark the company's best delivery drivers.
The de-commissioned aircraft bears the registration G-ASDA, which has not been registered with the UK Civil Aviation Authority. G-ASDA was last used on a Beech Aircraft 65-80 Queenair twin turboprop and was de-registered in 1989, making the registration unavailable for re-use on any other aircraft.
The aircraft is painted in the store's green colour and bears the supermarket logo on the main section of the fuselage (see below). Asda says the aircraft was painted as a backdrop for its annual Driver of the Year awards, which honour delivery drivers' skills in an annual knock-out competition. The awards took place Yesterday, with the winner having his normal truck replaced with a Scania L500 Luxury lorry for one year. "We just wanted some 'wow' factor for the drivers," Asda says. The aircraft is also understood to have been painted in advance of the filming of a television commercial.
The ex-Olympic Airways 747-212B (SX-OAD) has been stored at Bruntingthorpe airfield in Leicestershire for the past four years since it left the Greek national carrier's fleet. Prior to that it entered service in 1979 with Singapore Airlines (SIA), in whose fleet it flew until 1985.
Asda, acquired by Wal-Mart in 1999, has 301 stores in the UK and has recently launched a multimillion pound advertising drive that includes recruiting Coleen McLoughlin, the fiancée of England soccer player Wayne Rooney endorsing its George fashion range.