Lufthansa Withdraws Another Boeing 747-400 From Storage

Lufthansa has today withdrawn another Boeing 747-400 from long-term storage in the Netherlands. The move comes ahead of the type’s expected reintroduction to service. Lufthansa has committed to bringing eight of its -400 jumbo jets back to the skies as it patiently waits for the Boeing 777X, with deliveries due to begin in 2023.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747-400, recalled
Today Lufthansa removed one of the two Boeing 747-400s still parked at Twente Airport. Photo: Getty Images

According to data from ch-aviation.com, there are just nine Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft active in the world (excluding government and VIP jets). Two-thirds of these belong to Russia’s Rossiya. However, things are set to change with Lufthansa due to be responsible for eight aircraft as it ramps up its capacity in line with the aviation industry’s recovery.

Welcome back D-ABVX

According to data from FlightRadar24.com, D-ABVX last flew passengers on May 8th, 2020. The aircraft operated flight LH 637 from Riyadh (RUH) to Frankfurt (FRA). Lufthansa had previously flown it to New Zealand to rescue Germans stranded by travel restrictions. Two and a half months later, the airline shuffled the plane to Enschede Airport in the Netherlands on July 20th.

There had been some drama surrounding whether the Boeing 747s sent to Twente would be able to leave the airport. They required special permits to go as the airport wasn’t permitted to handle 747 departures. The aircraft did have a deadline of June 30th to leave the airport or be stuck there forever, although a court later pushed this back to the end of 2022.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747-400, recalled
D-ABVX returned to Frankfurt after over a year in storage. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

Despite all the headaches, D-ABVX could leave the airport, as it departed today at 14:18. Flying as LH9871, the plane was in the air for just 39 minutes, touching back down in Frankfurt at 14:57.

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Eight Boeing 747-400s left

While some of the Boeing 747-400s that have left Twente went on to the Mojave Desert after refueling in Frankfurt, this won’t be the case for D-ABVX. Lufthansa told Simple Flying that eight of its Boeing 747-400s would return to service until the Boeing 777X arrives, providing capacity to replace them.

Lufthansa, Boeing 747-400, recalled
Other Lufthansa Boeing 747-400s haven’t been as lucky as D-ABVX. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

The airline’s remaining eight Boeing 747-400s seem to be slowly relocating to Frankfurt ahead of the type’s return to service. As of today, the fleet consists of,

AircraftSerial NumberAgeLocationLast Movement
D-ABVM114323.53Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)23/07/2021
D-ABVU119122.67Tarbes, France (LDE)15/06/2020
D-ABVW120522.43Hamburg, Germany (HAM)16/06/2020
D-ABVX123721.66Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)03/08/2021
D-ABVY126120.68Teruel, Spain (TEV)21/10/2020
D-ABVZ126420.57Hamburg, Germany (HAM)04/08/2020
D-ABTK129319.66Teruel, Spain (TEV)29/04/2021
D-ABTL129919.44Enschede, The Netherlands (ENS)06/06/2020

(Table data from ch-aviation.com and FlightRadar24.com)

Returning the Boeing 747-400 to service

While we know the Boeing 747-400 will be returning to service, we don’t yet know when. Last week there were 247 Boeing 747-400 flights in the Lufthansa schedule for September. These have all now been removed, with no flights now scheduled until October. According to aviation data experts Cirium, Lufthansa has 11 Boeing 747-400 destinations currently on the schedule for October. All departing Frankfurt, these routes are,

  • Bengaluru, India (BLR) – 22 rotations
  • Mumbai, India (BOM) – 23 rotations
  • Boston, US (BOS) – 1 rotation
  • Delhi, India (DEL) – 21 rotations
  • Denver, US (DEN) – 1 roation
  • Dubai, UAE (DXB) – 1 rotaion
  • Washington Dulles, US (IAD) – 31 roations
  • Seoul, South Korea (ICN) – 1 roation
  • Orlando, US (MCO) – 1 rotation
  • Miami, US (MIA) – 1 roation
  • Vancouver, Canada (YVR) – 1 rotation
  • Toronto, Canada (YYZ) – 1 rotation
Lufthansa, Boeing 747-400, recalled
Lufthansa’s current Boeing 747-400 routes that are planned for October. Photo: Cirium

Incidentally, each route with a single rotation starts on October 31st, when the IATA winter 21/22 schedule season starts. Of course, the schedule may get pushed back again, with no 747-400 flights in October, as was the case with the September schedule since last Friday.

When did you last fly on a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400? Let us know in the comments down below!

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