Return Of The Jumbo? Lufthansa Reactivates More Boeing 747-8s

Lufthansa is slowly making progress on the path to recovery. This week it reactivated two more Boeing 747-8 aircraft, both of which had been stored for over six months. One of the aircraft reactivated by the German flag carrier was its retrojet jumbo.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747-8, Reactivated
Lufthansa has reactivated two more Boeing 747-8s (not pictured). Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Many airlines have decided to retire their aging 747-400 jets. With only three customers for the newer 747-8, not many are around. Lufthansa is one of the three 747-8 customers with 19 of the jets on its book. The German flag carrier is flying the majority of its new generation jumbo jets, making it the primary 747 passenger operator as things currently stand.

Two more 747-8s reactivated

This week Lufthansa reactivated two more of its 19 Boeing 747-8 aircraft. The first to be reactivated was D-ABYT. This aircraft is well known by Lufthansa fans as it is one of a handful of retro jets at the airline. The aircraft had been in storage since the end of March 2020. During this time, it moved around Frankfurt Airport, at one point becoming parked on the northwest Runway 07L-25R.

On Tuesday, the jet took to the skies for the first time in 14 months, completing a one-hour 41-minute test flight to nowhere in the skies above Germany. Having received the all-clear, the aircraft went on to fly down to Sao Paulo yesterday evening.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747-8, Reactivated
The airline’s retrojet hadn’t been flown since March last year. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

According to data from, D-ABYT is 6.31 years old. The plane took its first flight on February 14th, 2015, before being delivered to Lufthansa the next month on March 25th. The aircraft has a current market value of $74.6 million, having racked up 24,143 flight hours across 2,519 cycles.

What about the other plane?

Another aircraft also awoke from its slumber yesterday. Since November 30th, D-ABYA has been resting its wings in Hamburg. The jet is the airline’s oldest 747-8 at 9.33 years. According to data from, the plane departed Hamburg at 12:32 yesterday.

The plane gradually climbed to 39,000 feet, taking a roundabout route through Germany to Frankfurt, where it landed one hour and 36 minutes later at 14:08 following a missed approach. The aircraft is expected to fly to Nanjing on Sunday, having arrived back home.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747-8, Reactivated
D-ABYA had been resting its wings in Hamburg. Photo:

According to‘s data, the aircraft took its first flight on February 8th, 2012, going on to be delivered to the German flag carrier on May 1st of that year. This aircraft has so far racked up 36,280 hours of flying, spread across 4,157 cycles.

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And the airline’s other 747s?

With the reactivation of D-ABYA and D-ABYT, 13 of the airline’s 19 Boeing 747-8 aircraft are active (have flown in the last week). Six remain stored on the ground. In contrast to the airline’s Airbus A380 fleet, Lufthansa remains committed to the Boeing 747-8 fleet, meaning that we will likely see the remainder return to the skies as demand slowly ramps up.

The return of two more jumbo jets is the latest in a string of signs that Frankfurt aviation sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Alongside this, a handful of older Boeing 747-400s are also set to return to the skies, with a Lufthansa spokesperson telling Simple Flying,

“We will also be bringing our eight 747-400s back into service for the next few years; staring in 2023, they will be successively replaced by the 777s once they are delivered.”

Are you pleased to see Lufthansa’s Boeing 747 retrojet back in the skies? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!