It was a little over two years ago that Kuwait Airways said goodbye to its final Boeing 747. Over its 67-year history, the carrier has operated five Queens of the Sky. Four of these were the -200M, better known as ‘combis.’ The one other jumbo jet was a -400 combi, which was the last to leave the fleet in 2019. So what happened to these big birds?
Five 747s with five different stories
With just five 747s having passed through the Kuwait Airways fleet, let’s take a look at each aircraft and where they ended up. First off, we’ll start with the older 747-200M combis.
9K-ADA “Al Sabahiya “
This aircraft joined the fleet in 1978 and, on two separate occasions, was leased out to EgyptAir and Garuda Indonesia during its 17 years under Kuwait Airways ownership. In 1995 it was reconfigured to become a full, dedicated cargo aircraft, serving with Kalitta Air.
During its last few years, it was leased out to Air Bangaladesh to perform cargo operations with the carrier. Planespotters.net notes that the jet was broken up in August 2007 in Germany, with the cockpit preserved. This can be found on the roof of the Technik Museum in Sinsheim, Germany.
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Also joining Kuwait Airways in 1978, the aircraft served with the airline until 2008. It was eventually broken up and scrapped at Riyadh’s King Khalid Airport (RUH).
While each aircraft has a different story, the fate of this jet is somewhat similar to its sibling 9K-ADA. Joining Kuwait Airways in 1979, the jet was also leased out to EgyptAir and Garuda Indonesia on several occasions. In 1995 it was converted to a -200F freighter, serving with Kalitta Air before going to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fly with Cargair.
In 2011, the jet appears to have been retired from service and put into storage, where it has been ever since. ch-aviation notes that it is located at Guarani International Airport in Paraguay.
This jet joined the fleet in 1982. Just like ADA and ADC, this aircraft was also leased out to serve with other carriers. In this case, it flew with Garuda Indonesia on three separate occasions- with each period lasting only one month.
However, after its time in passenger service, this aircraft was not converted to a dedicated freighter. Instead, the aircraft then went to an entity known as Trans Atlantic Aviation (TAA) in 2008. Stored at Manston Kent International Airport, it was eventually broken up in 2015.
Kuwait Airways’ one and only 747-400M served its entire life with the one airline. In 2019, the jet was retired and sold to AELS in the Netherlands. With AELS’ role in buying aircraft and selling their components, the firm broke up the plane for parts the same year it purchased the aircraft. This was done in Twente, in the Netherlands.
Kuwait Airways’ widebody fleet today
Today, Kuwait Airways’ widebody fleet is dominated by the Boeing 777-300ER. The airline also operates some older A330-200s and the newer and much more rare A330-800. The carrier is expecting five Airbus A350-900s in the future – just half of what it originally ordered.
Did you ever have the opportunity to fly on a 747 with Kuwait Airways? Let us know by leaving a comment.