KLM set to retire its B747

KLM B747-400

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is set to retire its iconic B747-400 fleet. It was initially set to retire its fleet by 2021 but due to coronavirus and air travel being at its lowest point with the 747-400 incurring high maintenance cost with very low demand, it has decided to speed up its retirement by a year.

History of the KLM 747

KLM took delivery of its first B747 with the registration PH-BUA and the aircraft was B747-200. Its first commercial flight was to New York on the 14th February, 1971. This was also incidentally the aircraft that was hijacked two years later while operating flight KL861.

KLM Asia B747-400M

KLM had a subsidiary known as KLM-Asia which operated flights to Taiwan. Photo: Kok Vermeulen via Wikimedia commons

Current Fleet

KLM currently operates 10 B747-400 aircrafts with 3 of them being used for Cargo.


The B747-400 is also known as queen of the skies has a capacity of 408 passengers. KLM currently flies tow B747-400 and has named them Lima and Nairobi respectively.


The B747-400M also known as B747-400 Combiner’s due to its capacity to carry passengers as well as huge amount of cargo. KLM first flew this aircraft on September 12th, 1989. It has 5 of them in its fleet which are named Seoul, Tokyo, Vancouver , Shanghai and Johannesburg.

KLM B747-400M

KLM currently has 5 x B747-400M which are also known as B747-400 Combi.  Photo: Jakkrit Prasertwit via Wikimedia commons

Final Goodbyes to the Queen

The final commercial flight of the KLM Queen is set to be operated from Mexico City. The flight details are that it will be using a B747-400M registered as PH-BFW named ‘City of Shanghai’.

KLM B747-400

KLM will fly this B747-400 registered as PH-BFW for their final flight from Mexico City to Amsterdam.  Photo : Aerowanderer

It will operate the KL686 from Mexico City to Amsterdam. The flight would depart Mexico City at 21:05 and arrive at Amsterdam the next day at 15:20 local time.

Even though airlines are phasing out their B747, replacing them with modern twin engine fuel efficient aircraft, the might and the revolution the 747 caused in aviation would always be remembered. We can only hope other airlines don’t follow suit and speed up their retirement process unlike KLM.



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