Which Airlines Are Still Flying The Boeing 747 Despite COVID-19?

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It’s widely accepted that most of the world’s airlines have sent their largest and least efficient jets to storage during COVID-19. With the decline in passenger traffic, airlines have opted to use twin-jet aircraft, which are easier to fill and easier to maintain. But there are indeed a few airlines that seemingly still operate the Boeing 747 – let’s find out which ones.

Air-China-747-Madrid
Air China has several 747-400s and 747-8s still operating. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons

Firstly, we should note that this article is based on data acquired from Planespotters.net,  filtering through aircraft that are listed as ‘Active.’ If you know of additional airlines still flying 747s, let us know in the comments.

Air China

Air China has at least one 747-400, and some 747-8s still flying. The 747-400, registration B-2447, has mostly been flying domestic operations in and out of Beijing – most recently operating a few trips to Shenzhen.

As for the airline’s newer 747s, the -8s, these have been flying longer distances. Aircraft with registrations B-2481, B-2485, and B-2487, have all been flying exclusively between Beijing and Los Angeles.

Boeing 747-8, Lufthansa, Air China, Korean Air
Air China has both the Boeing 747-8 and 747-400 in its fleet. Photo: Boeing

Lufthansa

German carrier Lufthansa is listed as having four active 747-8 aircraft. These aircraft are as follows:

  • D-ABYC
  • D-ABYJ
  • D-ABYL
  • D-ABYP

All four aircraft appear to be based in Frankfurt and are flying services in and out of the airport to and from the cities of Chicago, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo,

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Lufthansa 747-8
Lufthansa’s 747-8s are operating out of Frankfurt Am Main International Airport. Photo: Kiefer via Wikimedia

Air India

Finally, there is Air India, with a 747-400 still flying. VT-EVA appears to be flying mainly domestic operations in and out of Mumbai. In recent days, the aircraft has flown to the cities of Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram.

However, on June 13th and 19th, the jumbo jet has flown to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. This would presumably be a repatriation flight – taking home hundreds of Indian expat workers from Saudi Arabia.

air-india-wuhan-evacuation
Air India appears to have at least one Boeing 747-400 still flying. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

Special mentions

While our website’s focus has always been on commercial passenger aviation, we can also mention that other 747s are still in the air for other purposes.

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Cargo airlines are the largest group of airlines still flying the 747 – obviously as freighter variants. Airlines include Polar Air Cargo, Kalitta Air, Atlas Air, and UPS. However, there are some passenger airlines flying 747s for cargo purposes/for their cargo divisions. These include Air China, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Korea’s Asiana Airlines.

Another interesting group of “airlines” (if you can even call them airlines) are Government-operated 747s. The governments of Bahrain, Oman, Dubai, and South Korea all have 747-400s listed as still active.

Korean presidential jet
South Korea’s presidential jet – known as ‘Code One,’ is still active. Photo: Jeroen Stroes Aviation Photography via Wikimedia Commons

The United States Air Force also has four 747-200s listed as active while three -200s are still active with the Iranian Air Force.

Did we miss any commercial airlines still operating 747s as part of passenger operations? Let us know in the comments.

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