KLM is giving the Queen of the Skies a reprieve.
KLM flies a fleet of 12 Boeing 747-400 Combis. The plan was to fully retire this aircraft type by end of 2020, replacing it with Airbus A350-900s. But KLM is deferring delivery of its first A350-900 until 2021. That means KLM 747s should remain the sky for at least an extra year.
The Slow Disappearance of Four-Engine Jets At Air France/KLM
The 747-400 is not the only aircraft that will be mothballed. Air France will also retire its six A340-300s by the end of 2020. While the A380 will remain in the Air France fleet, all other four-engine jets will be replaced with Airbus A350 or Boeing 787 jets with only two engines. Air France will be first to receive A350s next year, which have already been designated for Joon. In total, Air France/KLM ordered 28 A350s, seven of which will go to KLM.
Of course all these plans could change. A spokesman told AIN Online, “We anticipate the phase-out of the 747s to finish in 2021, but also this could still change.” The only change I am hoping for is a further delay to the Queen’s retirement. There is still no plane like it in the sky.
Will you fly on the KLM 747-400 Combi before it is retired?
image: Bill Abbott / FLICKR