AMSTERDAM SCHIPHOL, NETHERLANDS – According to luchtvaartnieuws.nl, KLM is going to operate the phased out Boeing 747 passenger aircraft again, after the Dutch national carrier retired the Queen of the skies on March 29. KLM is setting up a cargo airlift to China, in partnership with Philips, to transport medical equipment and other cargo. From April 13, The airline will be operating 5 cargo flights per week for a period of 6 to 8 weeks. After the retirement KLM was only operating cargo flights with its remaining KLM 747-400F cargo aircraft.
KLM will carry out 2 flights a week to Beijing and 3 a week to Shanghai. Two Boeing 747-400 Combi passenger aircraft will be used to operate the flights to China. In total, 250 tons of freight capacity will become available per week. The KLM Boeing 747-400F cargo aircraft will also continue to operate, primarily on flights to the U.S., Africa and South America.
During the corona crisis KLM has been operating cargo flights with Boeing 777s and 787 Dreamliners the past weeks, with only cargo on board.
“I think it is extremely important that KLM can add value to Dutch society, especially during this time of crisis, through flexibility, creativity and cooperation with other parties. The initiative of Philips to work with KLM to find a solution to free up freight capacity between Europe and China for necessary medical supplies is fully in line with this. That we were able to set up this initiative so quickly with professional and committed employees from both companies, is very proud of me,” says KLM CEO Pieter Elbers.
Due to the corona crisis, KLM performed the last passenger flights in March with the last remaining Boeing 747-400s. The airline was forced to retire the Queen of the Skies much earlier than planned. The KLM 747 would initially retire in May 2021, after 50 years of service.
(Head image: Jerry Taha)