October 6, 2022
Goodbye to KLM’s Last Boeing 747s?
Airlines AvGeek

Goodbye to KLM’s Last Boeing 747s?

DALLAS – At present, the cargo arm of KLM (KL) operates four Boeing 747-400Fs, but their future is bleak. The carrier will soon make a final decision as to when the Jumbo jet operations will come to a close.

“We will make a decision on that in the short term,” said CEO Ben Smith at the shareholders’ meeting some weeks ago.

KLM retired its passenger variant of the Boeing 747s back in 2020 during the onset of the pandemic, and the Boeing 777 and 787 looked after the long-haul network. For cargo, the four jumbos that operate under the subsidiary of Martinair are all based out of Schiphol Airport (AMS), Amsterdam. Though these aircraft can fly for a long time to come, they are just inefficient compared to the Boeing 777F and the A350F.

At the meeting, Benjamin Smith also stated, “We are looking at the options.” The Airbus A350F, Boeing 777F, and the newly launched Boeing 777-8F would be in contention for a future replacement. The Boeing 747-8Fs’ production will come to an end this year, so that wouldn’t be an option.

In the coming years, Air France-KLM will focus on developing an efficient cargo fleet with newer aircraft. Air France (AF) itself operates two Boeing 777Fs, while four A350Fs are on order too, which will all be based at Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG).

Image Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo

The End for the American giant

Recently, a huge deal came into existence between French shipping giant CMA CGM and Air France-KLM to collaborate in the air freight market. CMA CGM has a fleet of six aircraft—four A330Fs and two Boeing 777Fs.

Now if you’re to add both parties’ aircraft you’re looking at a minimum of twenty pure freight jets in the near future that operates from two of Europe’s busiest airports.

Three of the four Jumbo jets wear a KLM Cargo livery and are the Boeing 747-400 ERF version (PH-CKA/CKB/CKC) that has an average age of around 19 years, while the fourth one is a Boeing 747-400 BCF (PH-MPS) that is nearly 33 years old and also features a Martinair paint job.

Air France leaned towards the European manufacturer for A350Fs. Will KL follow suit and avoid the American giant?

Featured image: KLM

Commercial pilot | Flight Instructor | Aviation Journalist & writer.

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