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Retirement of the jumbo

These airlines still operate the 747

British Airways, Corsair, KLM, Virgin Atlantic: More and more European airlines are grounding their Boeing 747. Here's where you can continue to admire the jumbo jet.

Many travellers love to fly in the legendary jumbo jet with its two storeys. But the chances that they are able to do that are diminishing. Due to the Corona crisis more and more airlines are retiring their jumbo jets. 747 lovers have less and less airlines to choose from.

KLM was one of the first airlines to bid farewell to its Boeing 747s in March. In the meantime, British Airways, Corsair and Virgin Atlantic have also announced their farewell to the jumbo jet in Europe, and Qantas is grounding the double-deckers in Australia.

Best chance with Lufthansa

In Europe, there are not many operators of the 747 in the passenger version left. With Lufthansa travellers have the best chances of catching a 747 flight. The German airline has retired five 747-400 in the course of the Corona crisis. But eight Boeing 747-400 and 19 Boeing 747-8 are still part of the fleet, even though many of them are currently being stored.

Wamos Air also has five Boeing 747-400 in its fleet. One of the jets is currently active and flew the route Frankfurt – Windhoek a few days ago. On the Wamos website trips with the jumbo jet from Madrid to Cancun can be booked for early September.

Boeing 747 in domestic service

Russias Rossiya Airlines also has a fairly large 747-400 fleet with nine aircraft taken over from Transero. Eight of these are currently active, but only in the domestic market.

Another European operator of the passenger version of the Boeing 747 is the Icelandic charter airline Air Atlanta Icelandic. In addition to several 747 freighters, it has at least four 747-400 as passenger planes and offers them for leasing – for example for pilgrim flights to Saudi Arabian Airlines or as tour planes for Iron Maiden.

Other operators in Asia

If you look beyond Europe, Air China, Thai Airways and Korean Air still offer you the chance to board a Boeing 747. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, a total of around 370 Boeing 747s were in service worldwide. Many of those, however, are the cargo version.

In the slideshow above, you can see which European airlines still have Boeing 747s in their fleet and which ones are retiring their jumbo jets.

We’re on a break. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic we have decided to halt our English publication for a while and concentrate on our other ventures. But we’ll be back. Meanwhile you can find all our news, insights and more on our German site.