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?
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is turning to its retired Boeing 747-400 Combi aircraft again to fly again. This time, without passengers.
KLM will reactivate two Boeing 747-400 Combi aircraft (plus a spare) (PH-BFT, PH-BFV and PH-BFW) due to high cargo demand. The aircraft will operate starting on April 13 to China (PEK and PVG). The China cargo airbridge is in cooperation with Philips Medical Systems for a 6-8 week period.
KLM Jumbos will be flying again!
Top Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) (100 Years) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 949485.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines today (March 29) operated the last Boeing 747 revenue flight.
The last revenue flight, flight KL686 from Mexico City to Amsterdam, was operated with 747-400 PH-BFT. The flight is due to arrive at AMS at 1537 (3:37 pm) CET local time today according to flightaware.com.
Above Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-206B PH-BUC (msn 19924) MEX (Christian Volpati). Image: 906730.
KLM introduced the first Boeing 747-200B in 1971. The first 747-200B (PH-BUA), named “The Mississippi”, was delivered on January 16, 1971. On February 14, 1971, the 353-seat PH-BUA operated its first commercial flight to New York. KLM was the first airline to put the higher-gross-weight Boeing 747-200B, powered by Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines, into service in February 1971.
Above Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-306 N4548M (PH-BUU) (msn 23056) ATH (Richard Vandervord). Image: 949049.
On October 16, 1975 the first Boeing 747-300B Combi joined the KLM fleet, marking an important milestone for KLM’s cargo operations. In the preceding years, overcapacity was a problem in the air cargo market and this new arrival ensured greater flexibility, improving KLM’s competitive edge.
The coronavirus crisis and slowdown in travel has allowed KLM to early retire the Boeing 747-400 fleet.
Martinair will continue to operate Boeing 747-400F freighters for KLM.
Above Photo: The Boeing 747 was the queen of the KLM long-haul fleet. This 1991 photo shows the 747s gathering at the AM hub (KLM).
Top Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) (100 Years) AMS (Ton Jochems). Image: 949485.
“Our results for 2017 confirm that we are on the right track. Thanks to the efforts of all KLM staff and the loyalty of our customers and partners, KLM achieved a record operating result (COI) of EUR 910 million in 2017. This result was enhanced by our improved operating margin, which rose from 6.9% to 8.8%. The improvement of EUR 229 million is largely driven by higher unit revenues, which were mainly fuelled by favourable market developments. Our employees will also benefit from these improved result, with profit-sharing figures even higher than they were last year. The 2017 results confirm that the strategy we launched in late 2014 – to cut costs on the one hand, while investing on the other – has proved successful. However, this does not imply that we can sit back. We have our house in order, but our competitors are building skyscrapers. That is why we need to keep growing and investing, so that we have a hand in shaping the game.”
Pieter Elbers – KLM President & CEO
Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) AMS (Greenwing). Image: 929148.
KLM and the VNC trade union for cabin crew negotiated an agreement in principle on Friday January 5, 2018, for a new collective labour agreement valid until June 1, 2019. This is an important step in the negotiation of a new collective labor agreement for KLM cabin crew.
KLM is pleased to have reached an agreememt in priciple with the largest Cabin trade union the VNC on the details of the new collective labor agreement (CLA). Together, KLM and the VNC worked hard to arrive at a balanced package. The VNC will now present the agreement in principle with a positive advise to its council of members. Around 70% of KLM cabin crew are members of the VNC.
KLM has also shared the results of negotiations with the FNV Cabine trade union for cabin crew. KLM has urged FNV Cabine to call off the strike scheduled for coming Monday, allowing them to share the negotiated agreements with its members, so that FNV Cabine and the VNC can jointly formalise a collective labor agreement with KLM.
Copyright Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 931791.
Air France (Paris) and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) have outlines the changes for its upcoming Summer Schedule effective from March 29 through October 24, 2015. Overall the Air France-KLM Group capacity is increasing (+ 1.7%) compared with the summer 2014 season.
Long-haul operations are increasing by 1.8%. Medium-haul activity is continuing its reorganization and is decreasing by 1.9%. Transavia’s low cost operations (+ 7.8%) are undergoing strong development in France and are being consolidated in the Netherlands.
Here are the highlights:
Long-haul: Air France-KLM is increasing services to Canada and is launching two new routes: Vancouver operated by Air France from March 25, 2015 and Edmonton served by KLM from May 5, 2015. The Group is also improving its position in South America thanks to the launch of a new KLM route to Bogota and Cali (Colombia) from March 31, 2015.
Medium-haul: Air France-KLM is developing its European network on departure from the Amsterdam-Schiphol hub by adding three new destinations operated by KLM Cityhopper as from May 18, 2015: Belfast (Northern Ireland), Krakow (Poland) and Montpellier (France). At Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Air France is increasing capacity to Bordeaux (France), Naples (Italy), Billund (Denmark), Bucharest (Romania) and Budapest (Hungary).
On departure from Paris-Orly and the regional airports, the Group continues to reorganize its short-haul activity, currently regrouped within HOP! Air France’s operations.
Low-cost operations: Transavia is continuing its rapid development in France (+30%) and is consolidating its activity in the Netherlands. The company is launching 14 new routes, while strengthening its offer of flights to the most popular summer destinations.
New products and services: Air France-KLM is continuing its move upmarket. At the end of the summer season, 20 Air France Boeing 777 (above) will be equipped with the latest BEST cabins. After renovating its World Business Class cabin on all its Boeing 747-400, KLM is gradually equipping its fleet of Boeing 777 with its new World Business Class and Economy Class. From April 2015, Air France is also introducing a new leather seat on 24 Airbus A319 on departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. It will then equip 25 Airbus A320 in the first half of 2016.
Partnerships: As well as strengthening its joint ventures (Delta, Alitalia, China Southern, China Eastern, Kenya Airways, Air Mauritius) and its strategic agreements (GOL), Air France-KLM is continuing the development of its partnerships all over the world. To offer more and more flight frequencies and destinations, the Group is extending its cooperation with the Canadian airline WestJet. The Group also has strong ambitions In Asia, illustrated by the signing of a cooperation agreement between KLM and Xiamen Airlines and the code-share agreement with Garuda on flights between Amsterdam and Jakarta.
Air France-KLM’s long-haul activity is increasing by +1.8%.
For the 2015 summer season, Air France-KLM is increasing services to Canada. As of March 25, 2015, Air France is launching a new route to Vancouver, with up to 5 weekly flights from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. KLM is also introducing a new service between Amsterdam-Schiphol and Edmonton on May 5, 2015, with 3 weekly flights, then 4 weekly flights as of June 22, 2015.
Air France-KLM is developing its partnership with the Canadian airline WestJet, by offering new connecting opportunities in North America in addition to the new Paris-Vancouver and Amsterdam-Edmonton routes. Moreover, the Group is maintaining its close cooperation with Delta Air Lines as part of the trans-Atlantic joint venture.
Between May and September 2015, the seasonal service to Minneapolis-Saint Paul (USA) will be resumed from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. To meet market demand, Air France will be operating a second daily flight to San Francisco (USA) during the peak summer season (from mid-June to the end of August 2015). KLM is also further extending its second flight to Los Angeles to the full summer period, offering 12 weekly frequencies.
Central and South America and the Caribbean
As from March 31, 2015, KLM is launching a new service to Bogota and Cali (Colombia) from Amsterdam-Schiphol with 3 weekly frequencies. As a continuation of the winter season, Air France is increasing capacity to Panama City, with 5 weekly flights. Services to Brasilia (Brazil), launched in summer 2014, are maintained with 3 weekly frequencies.
In addition, Air France-KLM is maintaining its close cooperation with the Brazilian airline GOL, in order to offer numerous connecting opportunities to its customers on the Brazilian domestic network.In the Caribbean, as a continuation of the winter schedule, Air France-KLM is adjusting capacity during the peak summer season. The Company will offer up to 13 weekly flights to Pointe à Pitre and up to 11 weekly flights to Fort de France. Moreover, during the peak summer period, KLM will be operating a second nonstop flight twice a week to Curacao, in addition to the daily flight from Amsterdam-Schiphol.
Air France is continuing its daily service to Hong Kong (China) by Airbus A380 (5 weekly flights) and by Boeing 777-300 (2 weekly flights). The Company is also increasing capacity to Seoul (South Korea), serving this destination by Boeing 777-300 with 383 seats as well as to Singapore, with three additional flights operated during the peak summer period. Air France is continuing to serve Tokyo-Haneda Airport (Japan) up to 13 times a week in addition to the daily flight to Tokyo-Narita which provides connections to Noumea (New Caledonia).
The Group is also continuing to strengthen its cooperation with its Asian partners to offer an even wider choice of flights and destinations. In particular, KLM and Garuda Indonesia have set up a code-share agreement on both airlines’ flights between Amsterdam and Jakarta (Indonesia). KLM has also signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese airline Xiamen Airlines, illustrating their commitment to strengthening accessibility between the Netherlands and China.
Africa and the Indian Ocean
As a continuation of the winter season, Air France will serve Abidjan (Ivory Coast) daily, including 3 weekly flights by Airbus A380. The Company is also increasing capacity to Dakar (Senegal), by operating the route from Paris-Charles de Gaulle by Boeing 777-300 with 383 seats.
In East Africa, KLM is continuing to specifically adjust its network to market expectations by increasing capacity to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Entebbe (Uganda). Both destinations are served non-stop three times a week from Amsterdam-Schiphol, providing new connecting opportunities to Europe and North America in particular. On the other days these destinations are offered respectively as a continuation of the services to Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Kigali (Rwanda). KLM is also strengthening its cooperation with its partner Kenya Airways by offering new connections to Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zanzibar and the Indian Ocean, as a continuation of the service to Nairobi airport which boasts new airport facilities.
In the Indian Ocean, Air France serves Reunion Island up to 11 times per week, including 5 night flights.
Air France’s new BEST cabins have been flying to Dubai (UAE) since February 23, 2015. In September 2015, these cabins will also be available to Beirut (Lebanon). Furthermore, the Group maintains its code-share agreements with Middle East Airlines, Saudia and Etihad.
New long-haul products and services
Air France-KLM is continuing to roll out new products and services aiming to be among the best in the world.
By the end of the 2015 summer season, the new Air France BEST cabins will equip 20 aircraft and fly to 18 long-haul destinations:
North America: Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Washington;
South America: Sao Paulo;
Africa: Bangui, Douala, Libreville, Malabo, Yaoundé;
Middle East: Beirut, Dubai;
Asia: Beijing, Guangzhou, Jakarta, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo-Haneda.
On its BEST fleet (Boeing 777-200 and 777-300), Air France is adapting to customer demand during the peak summer period (from mid-July to the end of August) by adjusting in just ten hours the seating configuration of its aircraft. This ‘quick change’ can replace certain Business class seats with additional Economy seats. These additional seats correspond to the operation of the 3 additional Boeing 777-200 during the entire season.
Above Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. The pictured Boeing 747-406 PH-BFT (msn 28459) now wears the updated 2014 livery.
Furthermore, having renovated its World Business Class cabin on all its Boeing 747-400 (above), KLM is gradually equipping its Boeing 777-200 and then its 777-300 with its new World Business Class and Economy Class. At the end of 2016, 80% of KLM’s fleet will be equipped with fully renovated cabins.
For the 2015 summer season, the Group’s medium-haul capacity is continuing to readjust and is down by -1.9%.
On departure from the hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol
For the 2015 summer season, KLM is expanding its European network on departure from its hub at Amsterdam-Schiphol by adding three new destinations: Belfast (Northern Ireland), Krakow (Poland) and Montpellier (France). These new services will be operated from 18 May 2015 with one daily flight. Furthermore, the number of daily KLM flights to Florence and Basel is increasing from 3 to 4.
On departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Air France is adding a daily flight to Bordeaux (France), Naples (Italy), Billund (Denmark), Bucharest (Romania) and Budapest (Hungary). As of April 2015, the company will be introducing an upgraded product (greater flexibility for business trips, new gourmet attentions) as well as a new leather seat which will be progressively installed on board 24 Airbus A319s. This seat will subsequently equip 25 Airbus A320s during the first half of 2016.
On departure from Paris-Orly and the French regions
As from summer 2015, HOP! Air France is regrouping the entire short-haul network under a single commercial offer. This unified network includes all short-haul routes from Paris-Orly and the French regions. These routes are operated by Air France Airbus or HOP! regional aircraft.
Above Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Hop! For Air France ATR 42-500 F-GPYL (msn 542) taxies at Nantes, France.
HOP! Air France is continuing to restructure its network during summer 2015 –
On departure from Paris-Orly, HOP! Air France is rationalizing its offer to Toulouse, Strasbourg and Mulhouse by decreasing the number of frequencies while increasing the capacity of its aircraft.
On departure from the French regions, as a continuation of the adjustments initiated in the winter, HOP! Air France is suspending its international flights. However, to meet customer demand, certain destinations will still be operated during the summer holiday period, notably routes to Beirut and North Africa on departure from Marseille; Spain, Italy and Greece on departure from Toulouse; Tel Aviv and Athens on departure from Nice.
As a continuation of the winter season, Transavia is continuing its rapid development in France (+30%) and is consolidating its operations in the Netherlands (-0.8%).
With the ambition to be the leading low-cost airline in terms of destinations from Paris-Orly in 2015, Transavia France is launching 10 new routes this summer:
– On departure from Paris-Orly: Valencia, Dublin, Munich, Thessaloniki, Tirana, Warsaw, Casablanca, Fez and Amsterdam.
– On departure from Nantes: Madrid.
Furthermore, the company is increasing frequencies on many routes including Barcelona, Madrid, Oporto and Lisbon.
Above Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Now painted in the old 2005 livery, Transavia’s (Netherlands) Boeing 737-7K2 PH-XRE (msn 30668) arrives in Las Palmas.
In the same way, Transavia Netherlands is concentrating its activity on the hub at Amsterdam-Schiphol, where it will offer new frequencies to Tel Aviv, Larnaca, Malta and Paris-Orly. The Company is also increasing its offer of flights to Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga, Pisa, Naples and Thessaloniki.
Transavia Netherlands will also operate a new route from Rotterdam-The Hague to Berlin. On departure from Eindhoven, the service launched to Athens in February 2015 will continue this summer.
To accompany this rapid growth, Transavia has ordered 20 Boeing 737-800, with 17 firm orders and another three options. These aircraft will support the rapid growth of Transavia France and the development of Transavia Netherlands. The delivery of these aircraft will begin in January 2016 and will continue until 2018.
Top Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Air France’s Boeing 777-328 ER F-GZNE (msn 37432) in the SkyTeam alliance livery taxies to the runway at the Paris (CDG) hub.