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The End: KLM Bids Farewell to the Fokker Era

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The End: KLM Bids Farewell to the Fokker Era

The End: KLM Bids Farewell to the Fokker Era
October 30
13:35 2017

AMSTERDAM — October 28, 2017, marked the end of an era as the last operating KLM Fokker F70 took to the skies for the final time.

Fokker and KLM — a dynamic duo of sorts  have worked hand-in-hand for nearly a century, with an incredible amount of history packed into the 97-year relationship.

KLM, the Dutch flag carrier, also happens to be the oldest airline in the world. And if you know aviation, you know the name Anthony Fokker — the namesake of the manufacturer which was founded in 1912.

The company quickly made a name for itself building aircraft for the German First World War. At the time, its founder saw better opportunities in Germany, which is where manufacturing first started. However, in 1919, Fokker moved back to the Netherlands and just one year later, KLM placed its first order: two F2s.

By the late 1920s, Fokker had become the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, but an infamous crash just a few years later would undoubtedly taint the company’s reputation.

Author: Jan Harald Olsen

In 1931, a TWA F10 crashed in Kansas due to wood rot that ultimately caused structural failure. All eight passengers on board died, including legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. At the time, all U.S. Fokkers were grounded.

That same year, Anthony Fokker, who had been living in the U.S. since 1923, resigned from the American branch of his company, discontent after it merged with General Motors Corporation. Fokker died in 1939.

By the early 1950s, Fokker had built a new factory next to Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport. And in the 80s, the manufacturer developed two new aircraft: the F100 and the F70, which together with the F50, would play a tremendous part in KLM’s story.

Author: Konstantin von Wedelstaedt

In recent years, KLM has phased out the F50s and F100s, opting to replace them with more modern planes from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. But the F70 itself paved the way for what would become a widely successful and much-needed airplane: the commuter jet.

KLM continued to utilize a handful of F70s on short Cityhopper flights between Amsterdam and other European cities. Those planes were slowly retired until only one remained, which was painted in a special livery honoring founder Anthony Fokker —The Flying Dutchman. The final flight, operated by an English captain, flew from London to Amsterdam on Saturday.

While the event was an emotional and understandably sad experience for many, the “Dutch Aviation Trinity” (Fokker, KLM, and Schipol) lives on and is symbolized in a monument that was unveiled at the airport Sunday.

Read KLM’s blog about the occasion: Fokker The Final Farewell.


About Author

Annie Flodin

Annie Flodin

Communications professional and aviation journalist based in Minneapolis. In my free time, I enjoy plane spotting, writing, and spending time outdoors. Twitter and Instagram at @thegreatplanes.

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1 Comment

  1. billymarshall
    billymarshall October 31, 16:02

    Sounds like this captain probably passed up flying larger aircraft to stay with this one — that would be another interesting story to hear. Looks like the F70 is a joy to fly. Thanks for the great article and video.

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