KLM Retires Boeing 747 After 49 Years Of Service
Today, March 29th, 2020 marks a sad day in aviation history. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operated its last Boeing 747 revenue flight after 49 years of service.
The final revenue flight was KL686 from Mexico City, Mexico to Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Boeing 747-400 carried registration number PF-BFT. Here is a live tracking link via FlightAware.
KLM first introduced the Boeing 747 on January 16th, 1971. The first revenue flight was on Valentines Day, February 14th, 1971 with registration number PH-BUA from Amsterdam, Netherlands to New York, USA.
KLM also introduced the Boeing 747-300 Combi on October 16th, 1975. This aircraft was a mixture of both passenger and cargo in lieu of being an all passenger jet. This was a strategic decision as the cargo market was overcapacity at the time and this aircraft provided the airline flexibility to transport both cargo and passengers to improve revenue.
Due to the current ongoing crisis, the airline decided it was in their best interests to retire their 747-400 fleet early in lieu of parking them and returning them to service at a later date.
The remaining Boeing 747-400F freighter aircraft that fly for KLM will operate with Martinair on cargo only flights.