Quite early on, Lufthansa was clear that it would be removing five Boeing 747s from its fleet in response to the unfolding COVID-19 situation. Following a rush for parking space, Lufthansa has now flown a total of six Boeing 747-400s to Enschede in The Netherlands to be mothballed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved devastating for fans of the Boeing 747. Airlines that have operated the type for some 50-odd years, such as British Airways and Qantas, have given them early retirements. However, fans of the Queen of the Skies will take comfort in the fact that Lufthansa should operate its newest Boeing 747-8s for some years yet.
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Enschede – A Boeing 747 parking lot
Many readers may not have heard of Enschede Airport. Located along the border between The Netherlands and Germany, Enschede is more accustomed to seeing small, single-engine general aviation aircraft. However, recently it has welcomed six large four-engined aircraft.
Between June 6th and July 24th, five of Lufthansa’s Jumbo Jets made the short hop from Frankfurt to Enschede. A sixth flew over from Beijing to join the group. Since their arrival, the aircraft have been prepared for long-term storage. Satellite imagery shows KLM Boeing 747s being dismantled at the site, a hint that these aircraft may have taken their final flight.
How to store an aircraft
When Simple Flying caught up with Lufthansa engineers last month, we explained to readers the difference between the two types of aircraft storage. Parked aircraft need lots of little maintenance often.
Meanwhile, stored aircraft require a large deal of maintenance at the point of being stored, and then another major push to be returned to flight (if applicable). However, very little maintenance is needed in the interim.
Lufthansa Technik engineers were on hand to put these six Boeing 747s to bed. The tasks of the engineers would’ve included covering all of the windows with a reflective foil to stop sunlight damaging the aircraft’s interior. Batteries will be taken out of the aircraft, fuel lines disconnected, and fluid systems drained.
Not just the Boeing 747
It’s not just the Boeing 747 that’s been mothballed by Lufthansa. In fact, the airline has sent many aircraft to Teruel, a Spanish aircraft graveyard. The entire Airbus A340-600 fleet is currently enjoying the Spanish sun with only a portion due to return to service, perhaps as early as next year.
Meanwhile, seven Airbus A380’s have flown out to Teruel. For six of these aircraft, the flight will have been their last. The fate of the seventh aircraft remains undecided. For the time being, the airline has only permanently decommissioned 18 long-haul aircraft. This consisted of six A380s, seven A340-600s, and five 747-400s. Only time will tell if more will follow.
Will you miss Lufthansa’s retired Boeing 747-400s? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!