Revealed: The World’s Biggest 747-400 Passenger Operators In 2021

There are just 434 Boeing 747-400s if all roles, variants, types of operator, and statuses are looked at, reveals. However, the picture changes dramatically if only stored and active passenger B747-400s are examined. Just 42 fit the bill, with only 10 in active use.

Rossiya B747-400
Rossiya has eight of the 10 in-service passenger Boeing 747-400s. Photo: Papas Dos via Flickr.

Only 42 active/stored passenger B747-400s

There are just 42 remaining passenger B747-400s across 10 carriers. And of these, nearly 80% are in storage, such as those by Air India, China Airlines, Thai Airways, Lufthansa, and Air China. China Airlines has withdrawn the iconic quadjets, Thai Airways is unlikely to resume using them, while Air India has said it will.

In contrast, Lufthansa and Air China have both scheduled the type to operate from October. We’ll look at Lufthansa’s plans below, which has seen two more aircraft position to Frankfurt this week, while Air China plans Beijing Capital to Shenzhen and Guangzhou from October 1st.

Air China B747-400
Air China has three B747-400s, including B-2472, delivered to the carrier in 2000. All are presently stored. Photo: Maarten Visser via Flickr.

And just 10 passenger B747-400s in use

At the time of writing, only 10 – just 10 – B747-400s are in active scheduled or charter passenger service worldwide. This means that only 2% of the type fall into this category across Asiana (one aircraft), Iraqi Airways (one), and Rossiya (eight).

In recent days, South Korea’s Asiana has flown its sole remaining aircraft (HL7428) from Seoul Incheon to Changchun, Chengdu, and Hanoi. It is en route to the Vietnam capital at the time of writing. And Iraqi Airways has deployed its only active example (YI-AQQ) between Najaf – a very scared site for Shia Muslims – and Tehran Imam Khomeini. Until recently, the aircraft had been used from Baghdad to Minsk.

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Rossiya’s eight aircraft, meanwhile, remain busy by mainly shuttling tourists from Moscow Sheremetyevo to vacation hotspots, such as Antalya, Hurghada, Monastir, Paphos, Sharm El Sheikh, Simferopol, and Sochi. Because of such routes, the type has a very high-density layout, often with 522 seats.

Rossiya B747-400
At the time of writing, half of Rossiya’s B747-400 fleet is in the air. This includes EI-XLH, which is passing 34,000 feet en route to Paphos, Cyprus. Delivered to JAL Express in 1999 and used by Transaero from 2011, this aircraft is 21.9 years old. Image:

Two Lufthansa B747-400s flew this week

In readiness for the B747-400 returning to service from October 31st, the first day of the northern hemisphere winter season, Flightradar24 shows that Lufthansa flew 22.8-year-old D-ABVU from storage at Tarbes, in southern France, to Frankfurt on September 8th.

The day before, 20.7-year-old D-ABVZ flew to the carrier’s main hub from Hamburg, where it had been stored since July 2020. These movements follow D-ABVX repositioning from Twente to Frankfurt on August 3rd and, a week later, D-ABTK from Teruel on August 11th.

Lufthansa B747-400
Two more Lufthansa aircraft have returned to Frankfurt after being stored. Photo: Oliver Rösler via Lufthansa.

Lufthansa’s 744s are due to restart next month

Lufthansa has eight Boeing 747-400s. It has 10 routes planned by the type from October 31st, with Boston, Denver, Dubai, Miami, Mumbai, Orlando, Seoul, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington to see it once-daily from Frankfurt. An 11th route to Seattle is set to begin on March 27th.

What are your thoughts about the remaining B747-400s? Let us know by commenting.