MIAMI – Lufthansa (LH) is set to bring their last Boeing 747 out of storage at Twente Airport (ENS), according to the airport’s Twitter account.
“After 15 months of [being parked], [Boeing 747 #DLH1ENS] flew back to Frankfurt to return to service,” ENS announced.
In what has been a topsy-turvy couple of years for double-decker aircraft, this is a glimmer of hope that the days of the “heavies” are far from over. It is also a positive sign that the pandemic’s effects on air travel may finally be lifting, as new treatments for the disease become available, restrictions wane, and the demand for travel increases.
Days of “Heavies” Far from Over
Last year, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many carriers placed their large, long-haul passenger aircraft in storage facilities. Many of them sat for over a year, waiting to return to service. Some have, such as LH #DLH1ENS, while others are still grounded.
Some carriers have even elected to retire entire swaths of their long-haul fleet. British Airways (BA) retired its final two Boeing 747 aircraft in October 2020, citing “the devastating impact the [COVID-19] pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector,” in a press release in July 2020.
Airlinegeeks.com reported that KLM (KL) and Qantas (QF), two large operators of the Boeing 747, also retired their fleet of 747’s due to the pandemic.
Simpleflying.com compiled a list, last updated in June 2021, of airlines that still utilize or plan to utilize Boeing 747 aircraft. These airlines include Air China (CA), Air India (AI), Asiana Airlines (OZ), Korean Air (KE), Mahan Air (W5), and Rossiya (FV). Additionally, Atlas Air (5Y) still operates Boeing 747’s for charter services.
Featured image: A Lufthansa Boeing 747-830 takes to the skies. The return of the airline’s final 747 to service is a sign that the days of “heavies” are far from over, and that brighter skies lay ahead for the airline industry. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways