What Happened To Lufthansa’s Boeing 707 Aircraft?

At the start of the jet age, German flag carrier Lufthansa had filled its fleet with about 23 Boeing 707s and eight of the shorter variant, the Boeing 720. While the carrier obviously went on to modernize its fleet as the years went by, what happened to these iconic quad jets?

What Happened To Lufthansa’s Boeing 707 Aircraft?
The Boeing 707 is largely credited as the first truly successful commercial jet aircraft. Photo: wiltshirespotter via Wikimedia Commons 

The information comes from a site known as Lufthansa Group Fleet. Without any clear official ties to the Lufthansa Group, the level of detail and statistical analysis regarding the fleets of Lufthansa Group airlines (including SWISS, Brussels, Austrian, etc.) is quite impressive! With an extensive historical fleet, this resource covers information not available on other fleet tracking sites. Let’s look in-depth at Lufthansa’s 707 fleet.

Starting in the 1960s

Lufthansa started to take delivery of the Boeing 707 in February of 1960, beginning with a 707-430. It would take three more jets of the same variant later in the year.

As an entire decade, the 1960s would be huge for Lufthansa and the 707. By May 1969, Lufthansa had taken delivery of 30 707s – including eight Boeing 720s. At the turn of the decade, Lufthansa would add just one more 707 in October of 1970. The 707-330B and 707-330C were the majority of deliveries to the airline.

What Happened To Lufthansa’s Boeing 707 Aircraft?
Pictured here is a 707-330B registered as D-ABUL. The jet, named ‘Duisburg,’ would go on to fly with Somali Airlines. Photo: Uli Elch via Wikimedia Commons

The first jets to leave

The first jets to leave were the carrier’s smaller 707 variant, the 720. The first 720 to leave was unfortunately not by choice, as the jet registered as D-ABOK crashed during a training flight in December 1961. All three onboard the aircraft were killed.

Most other 720s (six) would leave Lufthansa in the mid-1960s, hopping across the Atlantic to join Pan American World Airways.

What Happened To Lufthansa’s Boeing 707 Aircraft?
A total of four Lufthansa 707s (including two 720s) crashed. Photo: kitmasterbloke via Flickr 

Over 15 years of service

The majority of 707s served with Lufthansa for over 15 years. The very first jets delivered to the airline in 1960 departed between 1975 and 1977. These jets went to a number of airlines, including Condor, Air Trine, and Pearl Air. One 707, D-ABOD has been stored in Hamburg and is due to be scrapped. However, a fundraising effort is underway to save the jet from being torn apart.

What Happened To Lufthansa’s Boeing 707 Aircraft?
Pan American World Airways and Air Zimbabwe were the two largest recipients of Lufthansa’s 707s. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr 

Here are other notable destinations for some of Lufthansa’s phased out 707s:

  • Five went to Air Zimbabwe
  • Two went to the Dubai Royal Air Wing as VIP jets
  • Two went to Somali Airlines

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A handful of crashes

Sadly, the crash of D-ABOK less than eight months into service would be the first of a few accidents. Here are the other 707 crashes reported:

  • D-ABOP (Boeing 720): Similar to D-ABOK, three crew were killed while on a training flight.  The aircraft reportedly lost control and broke up.
  • D-ABOT: The Aviation Safety Network notes that the jet undershot the Delhi runway and collided with the Middle Marker building. There were no fatalities in this incident.
  • D-ABUY: Three crew members were killed on a cargo mission. Classified as “Wrong or misinterpreted ATC instructions” and a “Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) – Mountain.”

Other than the crashes, it looks like most of Lufthansa’s 707s went on to serve with other airlines around the world in a variety of interesting places.

Have you seen a 707 yourself? Or have you even flown on one? Share your experience with us by leaving a comment.