Earlier in December, Frankfurt Airport revealed that it would once again close its northwest runway due to a fall in traffic. Rather than just abandoning the runway during this time, Lufthansa has once again put the runway to use. This time, to store Boeing 747s.
Around the world, many airlines have grounded their fleets due to a vast decrease in passenger numbers. Many significant airports lack the space to store so many aircraft, leading to an increase in the use of storage facilities such as aircraft graveyards. Some airlines and airports have been more innovative, commandeering taxiways and runways for aircraft storage.
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While Lufthansa continues to operate 747-8s to the likes of Sao Paulo and Nanjing, The airline is not using its whole fleet. Instead, it has kept some of these aircraft in a temporary storage phase where they can be reactivated relatively quickly if necessary.
As such, the aircraft’s entry points have been sealed, whether it’s the large opening of the engine intake or the pitot tubes’ small openings. Many aircraft had been parked at Terminal 2’s unused gates, with some having DIY bin bag-esque covers on the engines.
At least one of the aircraft, D-ABYF, has even had its engines removed. This Boeing 747-8, named Sachsen-Anhalt by the airline, is 8.2 years old. According to data from FlightRadar24.com, its last flight was from Sao Paulo to Frankfurt on March 17th.
One notable resident parked on Runway 07L-25R is D-ABYT. While the registration may not ring any bells, its livery certainly turns heads while coming and going at Frankfurt Airport. That is because this aircraft wears the airline’s retro livery. At the slightly younger age of just 5.9 years, this aircraft hadn’t flown for the German flag carrier since March 28th, when it returned from Manila.
How many 747-8s are flying for Lufthansa?
While many airlines have grounded or even retired the Boeing 747, Lufthansa has continued to operate its fleet of younger 747-8s (although the same can’t be said for its Airbus A380s). According to an analysis by Simple Flying of data from FlightRadar24.com, seven of Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8s are actively flying, although up to nine were flying in early September and late October.
The airline is operating six long-haul routes with its fleet of the latest generation Queen of the Skies. This sees the aircraft flying East to Bangkok, Nanjing, and Shanghai, and west to Mexico City, Sao Paulo, and Buenos Aires. The airline is currently operating the A350-900 to Chicago and Los Angeles due to its increased fuel efficiency.
When did you last fly on a Lufthansa Boeing 747? Let us know your experience in the comments!