Lufthansa Retrieves A Boeing 747-400 From Desert Storage

Lufthansa has withdrawn another Boeing 747-400 from storage ahead of the type’s anticipated return to service. This time, the airline looked to its collection of widebody aircraft at the Teruel aircraft storage site in the Spanish desert.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747, Return
Lufthansa has retrieved a second 747-400 from storage in as many weeks. Photo: Oliver Rösler via Lufthansa

Anticipation is slowly building as Lufthansa looks more and more likely to return its older jumbo jets to service. The airline has committed to flying its eight remaining Boeing 747-400s until at least 2023, when they should start to be phased out in line with Boeing 777X deliveries. The type is currently scheduled to return to service in October, though the flight schedules may not be indicative of flights the aircraft will operate as they are frequently changing.

D-ABTK withdrawn from the desert

Last week Simple Flying reported that Lufthansa had removed D-ABVX from storage in the Netherlands. Now, D-ABTK has followed in its footsteps. The aircraft took off from the Spanish aircraft storage facility at 16:30 yesterday. After a two and three quarter hour flight covering some 1,313 km (816 miles). The jet cruised at 40,000 feet for most of the journey, according to data from RadarBox.com.

At 19:16, the aircraft arrived back at its Frankfurt home, having left back in April. The aircraft had been stored in the Netherlands alongside D-ABVX. However, the airline removed it in April amid fears it could get stranded at the airport. At the time, Lufthansa had intended to send the jet directly to Teruel in Spain. However, bad weather necessitated a diversion to the airline’s Frankfurt home.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747, Return
The flight back to Frankfurt took roughly 2:45 hours. Photo: RadarBox.com

According to data from ch-aviation.com, D-ABTK first flew on December 11th, 2001. As such, the plane is 19.68 years old. Having ordered the aircraft in December 1997, Lufthansa took delivery of it on December 19th, 2001.

As of April 30th, the aircraft had completed 89,296 flight hours, spread across 10,877 flight cycles. As such, its average flight time sits at 8:13 hours, while its average daily usage is 12:37 hours.

Returning the queen to service

Returning an aircraft to service is no small task. Firstly, D-ABVK will have had to undergo some serious maintenance in Teruel to undo the process of placing the plane into deep storage. Now that it has returned to Frankfurt, it will likely undergo further maintenance at Lufthansa Technik before being kept in light storage until needed.

Read more: How Lufthansa Reactivates Aircraft To Cope With Route Increases

According to schedule information from aviation data experts Cirium, Lufthansa currently has Boeing 747-400 flights scheduled for October. However, we shouldn’t read too closely into these flights as the schedule is rapidly changing. Two weeks ago, Lufthansa had 247 -400 flights scheduled for September. Last week none were planned for September, while 105 rotations are scheduled for October. This could easily change again. Thus it doesn’t yet make sense to book a flight purely to fly on the type.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747, Return
While the A380 is on the way out, Lufthansa remains committed to the Queen of the Skies. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Commenting on the type’s return, a Lufthansa spokesperson told Simple Flying,

“Our eight Lufthansa B747-400 aircraft will get reactivated and taken out of storage step by step and put back in operation for the upcoming years. This is only until they will get replaced by the Boeing 777-9, also step by step. There are no fixed timelines on this exchange however. Furthermore the B747-400s will undergo the regular checks, also some bigger ones.”

Are you excited to see another Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 returned from storage? Let us know what you think and why in the comments down below!

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