Lufthansa rolls latest 747 out of Twente airport storage –



Lufthansa takes the last 747 out of storage at Twente airport

The German national airline, Lufthansa, has taken its latest Boeing 747 out of the warehouse at Twente airport to be put back into service. The Twitter account at Twente Airport in the Netherlands tweeted photos of the German Queen departing for Frankfurt. From there, the plane will go through the process of returning to the regular passenger flight. The aircraft, the D-ABTL, had been in storage at the Dutch airport for 15 months.

Last year Lufthansa, like many carriers, sent almost all of its large long-haul planes into storage as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold around the world. As the restrictions were put in place, demand for air travel almost completely dried up. The Lufthansa Group, which includes Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Eurowings and Brussel Airlines, parked 700 of the group’s 763 planes by the end of March 2020. Demand has started to pick up again as restrictions are lifted and vaccinations allow to resume travel.

The Boeing 747 has become a heavy victim of the pandemic. British Airways withdrew its entire Boeing 747 fleet in October last year. The airline had been one of the largest operators of passengers on the plane before the start of the pandemic. The airline was to keep the plane until 2050 and had even refreshed the interiors of some planes before being parked. KLM and Qantas, also major 747 passenger operators, have withdrawn their Boeing 747 fleet due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even before the pandemic, the use of the Boeing 747 was on the decline in passenger operations. The emergence of more fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft, such as the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350, led airlines to withdraw the Queen of the Skies. However, the airliner still remains popular with freight and ad hoc operators, such as UPS, Atlas Air and Cargolux. Cargo airlines use older planes because they can be purchased cheaply and they use the plane less frequently than passenger airlines.

The Boeing 747 was not the only aircraft to fall victim to the pandemic. Lufthansa announced last year that it would completely withdraw its Airbus A380 aircraft due to the pandemic. Some of Lufthansa’s A380s were only six years old when they were taken out of service. The move goes against British Airways which, despite having withdrawn its Boeing 747, has announced that its Airbus A380 fleet will resume service at some point.

The emptying of stored planes shows that air travel is starting to rebound as preventative measures for Covid-19 become widely available. The return of Twente’s last 747s also coincided with the United States government’s announcement to re-allow vaccinated British and European citizens into the country. The border had been closed to UK and EU citizens since March 2020 as an effective mitigation method to prevent the spread of the then little-known virus. This, combined with the easing of restrictions across the continent, should give European carriers a glimpse into life for what was shaping up to be another gloomy winter.

  • Daniel has always had aviation in his life; from moving to the United States when he was two, to family vacations across the United States and back to his native England. He currently resides in South Florida and attends Nova Southeastern University, where he studies human factors in aviation. Daniel has his Commercial Patent both land and sea, and one day hopes to join the major airlines.

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Daniel Morley
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