KLM & Qantas retire their last 747’s

KLM flew its last 744M from Mexico City to Amsterdam yesterday, marking the end of 49 years of 747 service.

KLM are usually one of those airlines that happily flies much sought after final flights for enthusiasts and fans, but the current circumstances simply make that impossible.

KLM came in for lots of criticism for retiring the Combi’s – five were in service – a year early, just when air cargo is in short supply during the current medical crisis.

Meanwhile, Qantas have also taken the decision to take their aircraft out early. The last of the Longreach 744ER’s officially left the airlines service yesterday, the traditional start of the summer season. They also had five left, and it marks an end of a major era.

Few airlines are left operating the type in main passenger service. Of the major airlines only British Airways, which remains the biggest operator with officially 38, followed by Lufthansa, Air China, Air India, and Korean Air are pretty much all that remain. There are a few in charter services like Atlas, Rossiya and Wamos, but beyond that, few now fly.