Large wide body airliners (like the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747) have been hard to fill for airlines since the COVID-19 pandemic exploded around the world this spring. Many airlines have parked their Jumbos and some have moved up the planned retirement dates of the Boeing 747-400.
If you want to fly on the passenger type you better hurry. Other than governments and cargo operators, finding a passenger Boeing 747-400 flight is a challenge right now.
Some aircraft in storage will probably become active again when the passenger demand dictates the use of large wide body aircraft again. If the demand does not come back quickly it will probably mean the end of those aircraft in storage.
Above Photos: Boeing.
Below is the current situation based on the latest information for passenger airlines (corrections and additions are always welcome) (subject to change depending on returning traffic):
Air Atlanta Icelandic – The charter and ACMI specialist airline has five passenger 747-400s. Three are currently stored and two are operating on ACMI assignments.
Above Copyright Photo: Air Atlanta Icelandic Boeing 747-412 TF-AMI (msn 27066) LGW (Antony J. Best). Image: 928104.
Air China – Two 747-400s are operational (B-2445 and B-2447) but they stay mostly in China these days. Another aircraft (B-2472) is operated for the government. Air China also continues to operate the newer 747-800.
Above Copyright Photo: Air China Boeing 747-4J6 B-2445 (msn 25882) JFK (Ken Petersen). Image: 902765.
Asiana Airlines – Only one 747-400 passenger aircraft (HL7428) is active these days so the type is probably ready to be retired this year.
Above Copyright Photo: Asiana Airlines Boeing 747-48E HL7428 (msn 28552) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 910887.
Atlas Air – The charter and ACMI specialist airline currently has three active passenger 747-400s (N464MC, N465MC and N480MC). Assuming charter demand continues this airline could be one of the last passenger operators.
Above Copyright Photo: Atlas Air Boeing 747-446 N465MC (msn 24784) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 921869.
British Airways – The former largest 747-400 passenger operator has stored all 28 aircraft pending a return of passenger demand. For now, G-CIVO operated the last revenue flight (BA9116 LOS-LHR) on May 11, 2020.
Above Copyright Photo: British Airways Boeing 747-436 (Tails) LHR (Dave Glendinning). Image: 908409.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – As previously reported, PH-BFT operated the last regular revenue flight (KL686 MEX-AMS) on March 29, 2020. However the Jumbo was brought out of retirement to operate special medical cargo flights (along with PH-BFV and PH-BFW) during the pandemic. All 3 are expected to be re-retired again this year.
Above Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) (100 Years) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 949485.
Lufthansa – The company was originally planning to retire the 747-400 fleet in 2025. That all changed with the pandemic. All 8 that remain operational are now in storage pending a return of passenger demand. D-ABVX operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (LH637 RUH-FRA) on May 8, 2020.
Air India – Four 747-400s are parked and not likely to return. VT-ESO operated the last revenue flight (AI966 HYD-BOM) on March 15, 2020.
China Airlines – Four passenger 747-400s are in storage and are not likely to return. B-18215 operated the last revenue flight (CI916 HKG-TPE) on March 15, 2020.
Corsair International – The French carrier parked its three passenger Boeing 747-400s in March and they are not likely to return. F-GTUI operated the last revenue flight (S5 927 PTP-ORY) on March 26, 2020,
El Al Israel Airlines – 4X-ELC operated the last passenger 747-400 revenue flight (LY1747 FCO-TLV) on November 3, 2019.
Iraqi Airways – The last passenger Boeing 747-400 (YI-ASA) operated the last revenue flight (IA3114, MED-BGW) on February 2, 2020.
Korean Air – HL7402 operated the last 747-400 passenger revenue flight (KE630 DPS-ICN) on February 29, 2020. Korean Air continues to operate the newer 747-800.
Mahan Air – The Iranian airline was recently again operating EP-MNB (February 2020) but it appears to be no longer flying, probably due to the embargo.
QANTAS Airways – The flag carrier decided to early retire the type due to a much lower demand. VH-OEE operated the last revenue flight (QF28 SCL-SYD) on March 29, 2020.
Thai Airways International – The flag carrier is in reorganization and is cutting costs and reducing aircraft types. HS-TGA operated the last 747-400 revenue flight (TG476 SYD-BKK) on March 26, 2020.
Virgin Atlantic Airways – G-VROS operated the last revenue flight (VS608 LAX-LHR) on March 31, 2020.
Poll. Who do you think will be the last Boeing 747-400 passenger airline operator?
Asiana Airlines is being forced to suspend its daily service to San Francisco from March 3 through April 16, 2020.
The decision was an outcome of the tragic 2013 crash landing at SFO. The Transport Ministry of South Korea ordered the suspension. Asiana appealed the decision but the Supreme Court of South Korea upheld the original decision.
Asiana Airlines is introducing its new Airbus A350-900 to the Seoul (Incheon) – London (Heathrow) route starting on October 29, 2017 with flights OZ521/OZ522. Thye new type will be initially operated three days a week (Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays).
Asiana Airlines (Seoul) has announced it will commence twice-weekly service between Seoul (Incheon) and Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on August 8. The new route will be served with Airbus A330-300 and Boeing 767-300 aircraft.
Copyright Photo: Yuji Wang/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A330-323 HL7792 (msn 1001) approaches the runway at Shanghai (Hongqiao), China.
Asiana Airlines (Seoul) flight OZ 162 made a hard landing and veered off the side of the runway tonight (April 14) while landing at Hiroshima, Japan on a flight from Seoul (Incheon). Reportedly 23 people received minor injuries according to CNN. The AIrbus A320-232 (HL7762, msn 3244) (above) was carrying 74 passengers and seven crew members.
According to The Guardian the A320 hit the localizer on the approach. The tail also hit the runway on landing.
Asiana Airlines (Seoul-Incheon) according to the The Korea Herald is planning to launch a second budget airline, tentatively named “Seoul Air”. The new entity would take over the short, less profitable international routes the main carrier now flies with narrow body aircraft.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Busan is 46 percent owned by Asiana. Air Busan operates only from the city of Busan. Air Busan Airbus A321-231 HL7723 (msn 2045) arrives in Tokyo (Narita).
Asiana Airlines (Seoul) has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Airbus for the purchase of 25 180-seat A321neo single aisle aircraft as part of its ongoing fleet modernization program.
The A321neo will join an existing fleet of A320 Family aircraft operated by Asiana Airlines and its low cost subsidiary Air Busan, with the A321 set to become the primary single aisle type at both units.
Asiana Airlines currently operates 33 Airbus singe aisle aircraft, 15 widebody A330-300s and two double deck A380s. In addition to its newly announced commitment for the A321neo, the airline has outstanding orders for four more A380s and 30 all-new A350 XWBs for operation on its long haul network.
Meanwhile, Air Busan currently operates nine A320 Family aircraft on its domestic and regional services.