KLM to bring its B747 out of retirement

KLM to bring its B747 out of retirement

KLM to bring its B747 out of retirement. The airline is set to fly its recently retired B747-400M again. The airline had recently retired its B747 having flown its last commercial flight from Mexico City. It is set to use it for cargo purposes.

The airline in partnership with Phillips and the government of Netherlands is set to create an air cargo bridge between China and Netherlands. These flights will be launched on April 13th.


KLM B747 to grace the sky once again

KLM to bring the B747 out of retirement. Owing to the reduction in air travel between Asia and Europe due to travel bans and restrictions, 90% of the traffic between the two continents is reduced. To aid to the reduction in the number of flights, KLM will use its B747 for cargo flights. Medical equipment is needed to be supplied between US, Europe and China.

KLM B747-400
KLM is set to bring its B747-400M out of retirement to operate cargo flights to China Photo:Aerowanderer

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has now joined hands with Royal Philips and the Dutch government to create a special cargo air bridge between the Netherlands and China. These flights will be launched on the April 13th for a duration of 6-8 weeks using its B747-400 combi.

I believe it is incredibly important that KLM can be of service to broader Dutch society in this time of crisis, by way of our flexibility, creativity and cooperation with partners. This is perfectly exemplified by the initiative from Philips to join hands with KLM in seeking a solution for freeing up cargo capacity between Europe and China for essential medical supplies. I am very proud that the professional and dedicated staff of both companies have managed to realise this initiative at such short notice.”

KLM President & CEO Pieter Elbers in a statement about KLM increasing cargo supplies

There will be 2 weekly flights to Beijing and 3 weekly flights to Shanghai from Amsterdam. This will help in transporting an extra 250 tonnes of cargo each way per week. KLM is already flying twice weekly to Beijing and Shanghai which are being operated using B787 and B777.

KLM to use its B747-400M for cargo
KLM believes it will help in transporting an extra 250 tonnes of cargo each way by bringing its B747 out of retirement. Photo: KLM

KLM/MartinAir will be continuing its service from Netherlands to the US to where Phillips has its distributing points. Other than this KLM Cargo using its full freighters will operate on South Atlantic routes and destinations in Africa.


Return of the Queen of the sky

KLM had retired its B747-400 aircraft last week. It had flown its last commercial flight from Mexico City. Airlines such as Qantas, British Airways are retiring or storing their wide bodied aircraft. Recently Lufthansa had also announced that they will be decommissioning many of their wide bodies.

KLM was initially planning to retire its B747-400 fleet by summer 2021. But due to the coronavirus, the airline was forced to retire the aircraft by April 2020. The main reason behind this was rising maintenance cost and the cost of operating these aircraft at a time when there is less demand for air travel.


Some good news as KLM is brining its B747s out of retirement at least for a short while. This comes at a time when airlines are cost cutting by storing or retiring their wide bodies.

With the current scenario in aviation we don’t know how much flying time these wide bodies have in the future as these are rapidly being replaced with latest technology and fuel efficient aircraft. Enjoy them while they last.

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