Lufthansa, Germany’s flag carrier, has restored their last Boeing 747 from storage at Twente Airport to operation. The Twente Airport in the Netherlands’ Twitter feed released photographs of the German queen departing for Frankfurt.
The aircraft will then go through the process of returning to a regular passenger flight. D-ABTL, the aircraft, has been in storage at the Dutch airport for 15 months.
As the Covid-19 outbreak spread over the world last year, Lufthansa, like many other airlines, sent nearly all of its large, long-haul planes into storage.
As limits were imposed, demand for air travel almost completely dried up. The Lufthansa Group, which consists of Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss, Eurowings, and Brussels Airlines, had parked 700 of the group’s 763 aircraft by the end of March 2020. Demand has begun to increase again as limitations are lifted and vaccines allow for the resumption of travel.
The epidemic took a heavy toll on the Boeing 747. In October of last year, British Airways retired its entire fleet of Boeing 747 planes. Prior to the pandemic, the airline was one of the largest passenger operators of the aircraft.
The airline planned to keep the aircraft until 2050 and had even renovated the interiors of some of the planes before they were parked. Due of the Covid-19 pandemic, KLM and Qantas, both significant 747 passenger operators, retired their fleets of Boeing 747.
Retirements Speed Up Due to Pandemic
Even before the epidemic, the Boeing 747’s use in passenger operations was dropping. Airlines have retired the Queen of the Skies due to the introduction of more fuel-efficient long-haul aircraft, such as the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350.
However, the aircraft is still popular among cargo and ad hoc carriers like as UPS, Atlas Air, and Cargolux. Cargo airlines utilize older aircraft because they are less expensive to purchase and are used less frequently than passenger carriers.
The Boeing 747 was not the only plane to perish as a result of the epidemic. Due of the pandemic, Lufthansa said last year that it would totally retire its Airbus A380 fleet. Some of Lufthansa’s A380 planes had only been in service for six years when they were decommissioned.
The decision contrasts with that of British Airways, which, while retiring its Boeing 747, has declared that its fleet of Airbus A380s will return to service at some stage.
The emptying of storage airplanes indicates that aviation travel is beginning to recover as Covid-19 preventive measures become widely available. The return of the last 747 from Twente coincided with the declaration by the US authorities that vaccinated UK and EU citizens would be allowed to re-enter the country.
Since March 2020, the border has been closed to UK and EU citizens as a powerful mitigation strategy to prevent the spread of the then-unknown virus. This, together with the relaxation of limitations across the continent, should provide European carriers with a glimmer of hope for what was expected to be another bleak winter.