KLM Prepares Another Boeing 747 For Retirement

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is getting ready to retire another Boeing 747. PH-BFU, also known as “the City of Beijing, will perform its final flight for the airline on April 16th.

KLM Boeing 747 PH-BFU
PH-BFU has traveled the world for almost 22 years. Photo: Wikimedia.

KLM took delivery of the aircraft, Serial Number 28196, in September of 1997. PH-BFU was originally scheduled for retirement late last year. Nonetheless, it remained in service after receiving a heavy maintenance check in Jakarta last fall. Soon it will be time for its retirement though. At this point, the aircraft is still busy transporting passengers around the world. Within the last seven days it has visited Seoul, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Nairobi.

KLM’s Boeing 747 Fleet

After the retirement of PH-BFU, KLM’s Boeing 747 fleet will shrink to 13 aircraft. The airline has announced plans to retire all of its Boeing 747s by 2021. Originally, the airline had planned to replace the Boeing 747s with Airbus A350-900s. However, the airline delayed the delivery of the A350-900s from 2020 to 2021. According to Airlinerwatch, KLM “may exclude the Airbus A350 from its fleet plan” altogether. There is a chance that the Dutch flag carrier will use Boeing 787s to replace the Boeing 747s instead.


Last year, KLM retired the oldest operating 747. The “City of Bangkok”, PH-BFB, flew over 134,000 flight hours for KLM. Furthermore, it carried close to six million passengers during its almost 30-year service period.

KLM Boeing 747 PH-BFB
Boeing delivered PH-BFB to KLM in 1989. Photo: Wikimedia.

A remote-controlled trailer transported PH-BFB to the Corendon Village Hotel outside Amsterdam Schiphol in February. It will be converted into an exhibit educating visitors about the history of the Boeing 747. The former KLM aircraft is hard to recognize nowadays as its colors have been changed to a Corendon livery. The exhibit is scheduled to open to the public in the third quarter of this year.

How do you feel about airlines retiring their Boeing 747 aircraft?


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Good riddance! By today’s standards, this plane is an ancient, noisy, polluting wreck! It’s had its day, now it’s time for the scrapheap. I’ve seen several of these old birds at Amsterdam airport recently…they have a “sixties look” about them, no matter what livery they carry.

Keith Tully

The 747 is the most reliable and successful plane ever built….


sounds to me , Nigel , that you are an ageist, quote ” they have a sixties look about them , good ridence time for them to go”
You obviously have zero comprehnsion of the incredible safety reputation the B747-400 has aquired . 30 years of remarkable service and reliability.
Multi Millions of passengers flown on it. A timeless ,classic looking aircraft which I am dissapointed about its withdrawal from service by the airlines with whom have flown her , sending them to retirement to waste away in desert plane lots.

Anton Schiere

In perspective of worldwide climate requirements and todays technical improvements, airlines should now reduce their fleets operational lifespan to a decade. By saying so there should be ban on flying 10 year+ aircraft, perhaps with a weaver after mounting the newest engines. But older aircraft are still relatively to heavy. For sure this necessitates deserts of parking space for all of these surplus aircraft. But as aircraft are very well insulated and technically well equipped their bodies can have after a refurbishment a grateful second life as temporarily shelters for those by war or nature disaster displaced. Beluga’s can transport… Read more »


I can’t wait for this thing to go. It’s noisy and the seats in KLM are crap with no power and ancient entertainment systems. really outdated and it’s a punishment to fly these from AMS – SFO.


Personally I found this aircraft a joy to fly between AMS and SFO. Booked it last year specifically for the experience. It was great. The moving map worked, the view outside was beautiful, what more do you need?


Another icon of the skys gone, replaced by the 2 engined monotony we call aircraft nowardays.
More fuel efficient, quiter, but utterly boring.
Besides, KLM’s Economy plus “confort class” seats at the best seats at economy level which are seated port side of the large business calss gally, before the wings.
A nice and quiter area, away fro mthe 10 abreast business in the main cabin.
Same goes for the first rows lower deck business class.