After nearly fifty years, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will operate its final Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet passenger flight on Sunday 29 March 2020.
Flight KL686 from Mexico City to Amsterdam Schiphol will be operated with Boeing 747-406(M) PH-BFT nicknamed ‘City of Tokyo’, a nearly 23 year old aircraft. The aircraft is expected to land at Schiphol at around 15:00 local time. The arrival will be broadcast live via the website of Dutch public broadcasting station NH Nieuws.
KLM will have operated the iconic Boeing 747 for passenger flights for almost fifty years. In January 1971, the Dutch airline took delivery of its very first Jumbo Jet, Boeing 747-200 PH-BUA ‘Mississippi’. Like many other airlines, KLM also had to construct a new aircraft maintenance hangar, big enough to support the Boeing 747. The Dutch airline has been a proud Boeing 747 operator ever since and operated the Jumbo Jet on passenger services to many of its international destinations including New York City, Los Angeles, Sint-Maarten and Tokyo.
KLM’s had planned to completely phase out the Boeing 747 by May 2021. Unfortunately, due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak and the resulting dramatic decline in demand for air travel, the Dutch airline was forced to move forward the final passenger flight of its Boeing 747 fleet.
Even though KLM still has three Boeing 747-ERF full freighter aircraft in the fleet and all of these three appear to be still operating cargo flights, this definitely marks the end of an era for Dutch aviation.
So long, Dutch Queen of the Skies. You will be missed…
29 March 2020
All photos copyright © Ivan Coninx unless stated otherwise.