While many aircraft in its fleet were grounded, Lufthansa never stopped flying the Boeing 747, even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as the airline starts on the road to recovery, it is upping its Boeing 747 schedule, doubling the number of flights planned in a month.
The passenger Boeing 747 was one of the main casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Major carriers around the world retired the aircraft several years early as passenger demand dried up. While the likes of British Airways and Qantas bid farewell to the Queen of the Skies, one airline that remains committed to the Jumbo Jet is the German flag carrier, Lufthansa.
Doubling the schedule for July
According to schedule information from aviation data experts Cirium, Lufthansa is doubling its Boeing 747 schedule in July. The airline has 239 such flights scheduled with the Boeing 747 in June. Assuming there are no drastic changes to the schedule before the end of the month, the airline intends to operate 441 flights, an increase of 85%.
Earlier today, Simple Flying reported that Lufthansa is slowly seeing an increase in business passenger numbers. While the increase is being seen from September, the airline hopes to scale its operations up gradually. In August 616, flights are planned using the Boeing 747-8.
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What about the Boeing 747-400?
Since April 2020, the Boeing 747-400 has been out of the picture when it was grounded at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. While they left the playing field for storage facilities across Europe, they’re not out of the game yet. A month ago, a Lufthansa spokesperson told Simple Flying,
“We will also be bringing our eight 747-400s back into service for the next few years. Starting in 2023, they will be successively replaced by the 777s once they are delivered.”
According to Cirium’s schedule data, there are currently 247 747-400 flights planned for September, giving a total of 725 flights across the jumbo jet fleet. The aircraft is currently scheduled to Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Washington Dulles, and Toronto. The Lufthansa booking engine confirms this. However, as is always the case with schedules, these things are subject to change, especially the further out they are published.
By December, the Boeing 747-400 should be operating on ten routes with a daily frequency. This would equate to 620 flights, which, alongside 992 Boeing 747-8 flights, would mean a total of 1,612 flights for the month. In other words, around 26 rotations a day with the Queen of the Skies.
Whether that many Boeing 747 flights will actually be operated is yet to be seen. Regardless, it still seems that the best chance of flying a Boeing 747 after the pandemic appears to be with Lufthansa.
When did you last fly on a Boeing 747 aircraft? Let us know the details in the comments below!