German flag carrier Lufthansa is sending one of its Boeing 747 aircraft to the Mojave desert. The aircraft, D-ABVP, is a 23.7-year-old Boeing 747-400 that last flew in April of this year. The aircraft was one of the 747s that flew to New Zealand to repatriate stranded Germans.
Many many Boeing 747s have been retired from the global fleet since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the entire remaining fleets of KLM, Qantas, and British Airways. While Lufthansa has retired some Boeing 747-400s early, it has not said goodbye to the whole fleet yet.
One way trip to Mojave
The vast majority of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747 fleet has remained firmly on the ground over the past half a year or so. Some were sent to Twente in the Netherlands. However, they made headlines earlier this month when it was revealed that they couldn’t depart the airport as it lacked the proper permit.
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Now, the first aircraft has departed, and the Boeing 747s are beginning to fly to their new homes. D-ABVP was one of these aircraft, leaving Twente yesterday. As the plane had to be light to depart from the airport, it made a short flight to its former Frankfurt home where it spent the night.
At 12:05 this afternoon, D-ABVP departed for Bangor, an airport in the United States’ top right corner. Following a technical stop, it will carry on its journey to Mojave Air And Space Port, home to previously scrapped Lufthansa Boeing 747s. A former corsair Boeing 747 completed a similar journey earlier this year.
D-ABVP took its first flight in February 1997, according to Planespotters.net. The aircraft, line number 1103, was then delivered to Lufthansa 15 days later on February 25th. It was initially named Bremen when it entered the fleet.
The last flight was from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia to Frankfurt on April 17th. However, before this, it flew from Frankfurt to Bangkok to Christchurch to Bangkok to Frankfurt twice between April 4th and April 12th according to FlightRadar24.com.
The aircraft was then initially stored in Frankfurt before being flown out to Twente Airport in the Netherlands on July 13th, where it remained until yesterday. As a result of the current situation, Lufthansa has cut its fleet to rightsize itself for the coming years. As a result, it immediately retired five Boeing 747-400s in early April, alongside six A380s and ten A340s.
The airline’s retired Airbus A340 and A380 aircraft have been sent to Teruel, a Spanish aircraft graveyard for the time being. It is unlikely that the Airbus A380 will return to the Lufthansa fleet unless travel picks up much quicker than expected.
When did you last fly on a Lufthansa Boeing 747? Let us know your experience in the comments!