The very last Boeing 747 in KLM’s stunning blue livery has left Amsterdam Schiphol for good. PH-BFV, the final 747 in the Netherlands, took off from Schiphol at 09:20 this morning, bound for storage facilities at Teruel in Spain.
KLM hasn’t flown passengers on its 747s since announcing the retirement of the type in March last year. Although the Queens were brought out of storage for the purposes of cargo flights, the airline finally ended 747 operations in October 2020. Even though they weren’t flying, three remained at Amsterdam Schiphol, awaiting their final fate.
PH-BFT, PH-BFW and PH-BFV were the three last passenger 747s to be seen in KLM blue. One by one, they’ve left their home in the Netherlands and gone on to pastures new. Today, the very last one, PH-BFV, took off from Schiphol.
Data from RadarBox.com shows the 747 departing at 09:18 this morning. After just over an hour and a half, the plane touched down in Spain at Teruel, an airport storage facility that has become home to a multitude of aircraft over the past 12 months.
Teruel Airport shared a video of the aircraft arriving earlier today:
— Aeropuerto de Teruel, vuela la innovación (@aeropuerteruel) March 15, 2021
PH-BFV was a Boeing 747-400 combi aircraft, delivered new to KLM in August 1999. It hasn’t flown since October 25th, having completed a cargo rotation to Shanghai. Today, its departure was marked by a special flight number – KL747.
Both its sisters have also flown the nest since ending operations. BFT was first to leave in December 2020, flying to Chicago and then on to Kansas City. BFW left in January, and is now in Tel Aviv, Israel. Both aircraft left Schiphol on the same flight number, KL747.
While the fate of these two earlier departures is not clear yet, PH-BFV is reported to be going to Longtail Aviation. It will be converted to carry cargo, and is likely to operate for a few years yet.
End of a half a century of history
As we bid goodbye to KLM’s last passenger 747, we close the door on more than half a century of history. KLM received its first 747, PH-BUA, back in January 1971. It operated its first passenger flight on Valentine’s Day that year.
Over the next 50 years, KLM would go on to operate 43 of the type. Its biggest fleet was the 747-400, of which it operated a total of 23. 17 of these were the 747-400M, or ‘combi’ variant, capable of carrying significant amounts of cargo along with passengers.
While you won’t be able to fly on a KLM liveried 747 again, there are still a handful around in KLM blue operating cargo flights. Three, to be precise. Operated by Martinair Holland, PH-CKA, B and C remain in regular use ferrying goods around the world, and remain the last link between KLM and the iconic Queen of the Skies.