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Old 03-13-2020, 10:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this month

Breaking news: A few minutes ago, it was officially announced that KLM will withdraw its last B747 at the end of March 2020. This is more than a year ahead of schedule. It is highly questionable whether there will be room for an official farewell. Thus comes a sudden farewell to an era.


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Old 03-13-2020, 11:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I refuse to believe this 😭
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Dutch newspapers mention that KLM is grounding the 747 fleet, not retiring it. That would mean the aircraft may remain at Schiphol for the time being. If the grounding is shortlived (weeks), I can imagine some will fly again for KLM. If the grounding is longer (months), it could mean the 747 is indeed history.
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Old 03-13-2020, 12:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maarlandair View Post
Dutch newspapers mention that KLM is grounding the 747 fleet, not retiring it. That would mean the aircraft may remain at Schiphol for the time being. If the grounding is shortlived (weeks), I can imagine some will fly again for KLM. If the grounding is longer (months), it could mean the 747 is indeed history.
I agree, we may still see them in the air again.
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

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Originally Posted by AirCal View Post
I agree, we may still see them in the air again.
Gents, this information, albeit in Dutch, is a message that comes directly from KLM's VP flight operations. He states: "The decision was made to definitively remove all 747's at the end of March". No matter how sad it is, I would take his words for granted.

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Old 03-13-2020, 03:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Thanks for the translation.
Sad to hear it though.
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Old 03-13-2020, 05:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

NO!!!!! I am disappointed , but from the business side, I understand.
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Old 03-13-2020, 05:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

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Originally Posted by Vintage Jet View Post
Gents, this information, albeit in Dutch, is a message that comes directly from KLM's VP flight operations. He states: "The decision was made to definitively remove all 747's at the end of March". No matter how sad it is, I would take his words for granted.

VJ
Today confirmed in a video by the CEO as well (in Dutch) Sad indeed. There appears to be no way back.

https://youtu.be/DKeGwdH4Lok
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Old 03-13-2020, 07:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Thats for sure: there is no way back. To summarize our CEO's speech: KLM (actually the entire economy) hits an iceberg, we make water quickly and we have to bail! Shedding the last six 747s is just one of the emergency measures to ensure that the remaining blue birds will make it by the end of the year. This crisis is unprecedented.

VJ

Last edited by Vintage Jet; 03-13-2020 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 03-13-2020, 08:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Ground Yes, Retire NO
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Old 03-13-2020, 11:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Aeronews reported that American is going to ditch its 767’s this May and 757’s will exit beginning this May as well and completely gone by post Summer 2021 at the latest.

Delta will probably come out of this thing okay. I don’t think American is as confident.
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Old 03-14-2020, 12:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

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Aeronews reported that American is going to ditch its 767’s this May and 757’s will exit beginning this May as well and completely gone by post Summer 2021 at the latest.

Delta will probably come out of this thing okay. I don’t think American is as confident.
Maybe that will give them some motivation to start buying newer 787s and 777s? hard to believe but i haven't a chance to fly on a 787 yet. And I also hope to fly on new 777x ...
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Old 03-14-2020, 03:27 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Very sad news indeed.
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Old 03-14-2020, 09:11 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Maybe that will give them some motivation to start buying newer 787s and 777s? hard to believe but i haven't a chance to fly on a 787 yet. And I also hope to fly on new 777x ...
I would imagine the 787’s replacing the 767’s are ones they don’t know what to do with right now and the A321XLR’s replacing the 757’s are ones they can’t defer.

KLM is just getting rid of the 747. They, along with everyone else, are just trying to figure out how many planes they need to park.

Last edited by arctic9048; 03-14-2020 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 03-14-2020, 03:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Man, that's horrible, those B747's were amazing to see with their KLM liveries!
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Old 03-15-2020, 06:48 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

A very sad but understandable decision, given the surcomstances. I was planning to fly on one of the Queens soon but that shall remain a dream. I think lots of airlines will get rid of their aging fleets now this crisis has arrived... sad days for aviation..
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Old 03-15-2020, 11:47 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Very sad news indeed. One of my favorite liveries to grace a 747. End of an era, 1971-2020. Not many left now, would like to catch one before they are gone completely.
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Old 03-16-2020, 02:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

This news seriously made me sad when I read it this morning. I was hoping that I may be able to fly on one for my next trip out to Europe. These are sad times that we're living in as aviation fans.

May the queen's spirit live on forever!
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Old 03-17-2020, 10:09 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

The whole situation is sad (understatement). This crisis has the potential to whipeout not only ourselves or our loved ones, but also the entire aviation industry as we know it.
KLM is in the proces of reducing its production by 80 to 90% and request the government for 'working time reduction' of 70 percent for about 28,000 employees.
Lets pray we will see the blue tops back in the sky soon...
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Old 03-17-2020, 01:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Difficult times for the airline industry and sad news for those who love or have been in contact with the B 747 ...

Jean Pierre.
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Old 03-17-2020, 01:25 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Dear Jean Pierre and all other members: stay safe!

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Old 03-17-2020, 03:06 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Understandable but very sad indeed. They will be missed!
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

I thought I would share this story I came across which involves both the retirement of a KLM B744 and the pandemic going on. Wishing everyone on the DAC to be safe and remain healthy during this unfortunate pandemic. Regards, T7

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/corona...-u-s-1.4856082

We weren't supposed to be on that flight. We weren't supposed to be leaving that day or from that city, on that airline or on that plane.

My husband Steve Lastoe and I had planned to stay in Switzerland until March 17, but on March 12 when we woke to news of U.S. President Trump's European travel ban, we quickly realized we needed to make alternate arrangements stat.

Scrambling to hatch a new plan, even after we learned Trump's ban did not restrict us as U.S. citizens from returning to our home country, we looked online for a new flight home.

Returning Thursday before the restrictions went into effect proved nearly impossible unless we were OK spending upwards of US$4K per person to get home.

We were not.

While I set my sights on what seemed like a perfectly acceptable Delta Air Lines trip through Amsterdam -- for 95,500 miles total and $200 apiece -- Steve dug a little deeper and found the same flight directly through KLM.

He convinced me we ought to burn some extra miles he had saved via a Capital One offer and spend an additional $100 or so to fly business class on the same flight.

I relented. After years of being spoiled with the perks of partnering with a "nervous" flier, I wasn't exactly dying to book no-seat-assignment tickets subject to high baggage fees on our oversized ski equipment.

Alternate reality
Although the vibe in Zermatt had seemed normal right up until the moment we checked out of our hotel and were informed by the concierge the ski resort would be closing along with all of the ski resorts in Switzerland, it became clear just how quickly things had destabilized.

Our train ride into Zermatt from Zurich just three days earlier had been seamless; we were not so lucky on the return trip.

Personnel aboard the train was minimal, but one staff member approached me to let me know of a rerouting due to a tunnel's closure. This alternate arrangement and train transfer would set us back at least 60 minutes, leaving us with a little over an hour to make the first leg of our flight, from Zurich to Amsterdam.

A brief train delay at Spiez meant even less time to make the baggage drop window.

And our baggage, in fact, was a problem.

Between us, we had two large suitcases, a snowboard bag on wheels, a ski bag, a boot bag with backpack straps, a small carry-on backpack and a carry-on tote.

It was a lot on an easy day without multiple train transfers and a fear we'd miss our flight; it felt nearly insurmountable as the clock ticked and we realized if the rest of the trip went as scheduled, we would have exactly 16 minutes to get from the airport's train station to the check-in desk at an airport we did not know.

No skis left behind
Before Steve devised a plan to place my entire ski bag in his snowboard bag for ease of racing through the airport, I volunteered to leave my skis back. Carrying the cumbersome load added a layer of complexity and challenge I didn't think we needed at this stage.

The most important thing was making our flight and getting home as soon as possible.

In the end, we caught the train we needed to make if we stood any chance of making the 2:10 p.m. KLM flight.

At the airport's train station, I hustled like someone who once boldly argued for the merits of arriving at the airport last minute.

We dropped our bags at the oversized check-in desk with literally less than a minute to spare according to KLM's bag-drop policy. And it was only as we boarded the first flight at Zurich that I noticed "upperdeck" printed next to the seat number on my boarding pass.

'Wow,' 'So cool'
Audible expressions of delight and excitement surrounded us as we approached the boarding gate at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and the pale blue behometh Boeing 747 appeared.

Even though many of us boarding that aircraft were leaving the country and returning home under less-than-ideal circumstances, the fear and anxiety consuming so many of us temporarily subsided as we all, each and every one of us, embraced our inner avgeek.

As I climbed the staircase -- straight not spiral like in the movies -- I felt giddy.

Two Royal Dutch Airlines attendants greeted us on the 747's upper deck and welcomed us aboard the queen of the skies.

"This is like flying private. It's the closest we'll ever get," my wide-eyed husband said, his delight at our good fortune evident -- even as we felt we were living in a nightmare.

The space to ourselves, we set about selecting seats, making jokes -- "you take the front of the plane, and I'll take the back" -- and exploring the empty cabin.

The irony of flying so stylishly, so intimately because of a worldwide pandemic was not lost on us. We hadn't been able to enjoy Switzerland, not really, but maybe we could try and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime flight.

'Queen of the skies'
We knew we faced newly implemented health screenings at JFK upon landing, and reports from friends and family on the situation in Brooklyn were sounding increasingly scary.

Some store shelves were empty, museums were closed and streets were eerily quiet. We were also aware of the mandatory self-quarantine and had no idea when we'd travel again, or if we'd even want to after all of this.

So, when one of the two flight attendants assigned to the 20-seat first class cabin came around with Champagne, we took it. And then we accepted seconds.

Before we knew it, we were making friends with the flight attendants and chatting with Victor Larine, the only other passenger with us in the upper deck cabin.

Marveling at the cockpit up front, the cabin crew's quarters across from the restroom and even the old-school in-flight entertainment system, my husband and I toasted to this eight-hour gift of a journey ahead.

Our appreciation increased when we heard the news: This Boeing 747-400 passenger jet was going out of service. The flight from Amsterdam to New York's JFK would be one of the last times the KLM aircraft ever saw the sky.

KLM launched the first iteration of the 747 — the 747-200 — in 1971, and it originally planned to retire the aircraft in 2021 on its 50th anniversary.

The retirement date is now April 1, when the aircraft will be left to crumble in a scrap yard or the desert.

There are perhaps a lot of reasons people love the 747. From crediting its capacity with affordability for the masses to the two aisles on the first deck to its range right down to the massive, hulking appearance, but the number one thing that sets the aircraft apart?

The upper deck. The staircase. The feeling of seclusion and coolness up there on the second floor just outside the cockpit. It's 1970s air travel glamor wrapped in a modern bow with business class seats that lie flat and menu cards offering a curated wine list.

As we talked to the flight attendants about this imminent reality, we heard in their stories and voices their love and adoration for this aircraft. "The most beautiful plane in the sky," one said. "There'll never be another like her," from another.

We buckled up and settled into our seats for takeoff. "It's like an old battleship coming alive," Steve quipped.

A few hours of calm
Passengers from the lower deck came up now and again to peer around. I wished I could invite everyone to sit and drink with us. There could be camaraderie in these dark times.

After making friends with one passenger from below, I asked one of the flight attendants if they could make an exception and let one more person join us in the empty cabin.

"I know you have rules," I said, "but if it's possible ..." My request was denied as I understood it would be.

In the end, I watched "Bridesmaids" on the grainy in-flight entertainment screen. I switched from Champagne to Rioja and ate really good cheese from Holland.

I looked on as Steve slept next to me, the dull roar of the plane louder than its modern aircraft brethren causing me to turn up the volume on my movie.

I tried to take a nap, anticipating a long and arduous customs wait at JFK (one which was far worse than I ever could have imagined), but sleep eluded me.

I got up, stretched my legs. Sanitized my hands. Ate more cheese. Fretted about the future of my husband's events-focused business.

I watched the sunset somewhere near Iceland, and for posterity, I snapped a few pictures.

I didn't think there was any chance I'd ever forget this flight home, our last for the foreseeable future, but I still wanted the visuals.
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:45 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

$$% on KLM
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Old 03-17-2020, 11:01 PM   #25 (permalink)
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What a great read. Thanks for sharing that, I’m really lamenting the passing of the 747, Queen of the Skies. The A380 I’ll be (hopefully) flying on this morning doesn’t have the same grace or emotion attached to it. Indeed, these are already being retired after just 10 years service by Singapore Airlines & Air France; the current situation could be the final nail in the coffin for the type. I really did miss that golden era. At least it can be enjoyed in the die-cast world.
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Old 03-29-2020, 01:10 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

The Queen has completed 50 years of KLM service!

Sorry for the poor quality of the images. It was not allowed to take photographs near the airport fences due to strict corona measures. Luckily the final landing was broadcasted live on internet, so herewith some of the images of the final landing earlier today, including a translation of the goodby speech from the flight deck (translated from Dutch).

Quote:
ATC: “KLM72Y, go ahead”

KLM72Y: “Dear spotters at Schiphol, around Amsterdam, at home. From the cockpit of the most beautiful aircraft ever built: the Boeing 747, we would like to thank you for all these years of imagery. Unfortunately, bigger problems around the world, with too many patients in overcrowded hospitals, cast a shadow over this earlier than expected goodbye. That is why we cannot offer you a suitable farewell. With a heavy heart, but counting on your understanding, we want to thank you once again. Stay healthy, goodbye, talk to you soon. Thank you approach”

ATC: “you are welcome!”










Let's hope we'll see her (Martinair operated) KLM blue top freight sisters PH-CKA, PH-CKB and PH-CKC in the air for a long time to come.

VJ
disclaimer: I do not own the images.
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Last edited by Vintage Jet; 03-29-2020 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 03-29-2020, 01:24 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

What a significant and sad group of photos. The last KLM B747, passenger revenue landing.
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Old 03-29-2020, 02:16 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

She will be missed
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Old 04-03-2020, 10:42 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Love the 747 but getting a flight on one for the past several years has sucked. It’s well past time. The old Queen will be missed.
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Old 04-04-2020, 11:12 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Rumors that they might rejoin the fleet in the future if covid-19 can be defeated.
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Old 04-05-2020, 01:57 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Would be nice but don't think so. They simply won't be needed anymore. Many fleets of many airlines will come out smaller if this crisis is gone.
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Old 04-09-2020, 06:44 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

KLM will temporarily bring two combi 747's back into service on freighter duty to Chna in cooperation with Philips to supply medical equipment and supplies. 5 rotations per week.
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Old 04-09-2020, 07:20 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: KLM retire its 747 fleet at the end of this mo

Indeed! The Queen is not yet defeated.

https://www.luchtvaartnieuws.nl/nieu...-weer-van-stal

Quote:
"KLM takes the phased-out Boeing 747 out of the stable. The airline, in partnership with Philips, is setting up a cargo airlift to China. Among other things, it can be used to transport medical equipment. From April 13, there will be flown five times a week for a period of six to eight weeks."
We all know that KLM already had plans to continue to fly four 747 Freighters operated by Martinair. And also that passenger flights definitely belong to the past. But we can safely say that, even though the operating costs are high, the Boeing 747 is an irreplaceable aircraft as a freighter! Even without the nose cargo door.

cheers, VJ
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