The World’s Oldest In-Service 747 Just Retired After Nearly 30 Years

Nov 26, 2018

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Planes can’t speak, obviously, but “City of Bangkok” would absolutely inquire about pension benefits if she could. After nearly three decades in service, the world’s oldest Boeing 747-400 has retired following one final flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and Amsterdam (AMS) on Sunday. The final passenger voyage was labeled KL602, departing California at 2:13pm and landing in the Netherlands at 9:38am the following morning after 10 hours and 25 minutes in flight.

KL602 won’t skip a beat from its daily departure schedule, but it’ll be a different 747-400 leaving the gate henceforth. Boasting tail number PH-BFB, the newly retired superjumbo was put into service in 1989, reportedly spending more than 134,000 hours in the air and completing more than 18,000 take-offs. As a testament to the incredible efficiency of turning aircraft, that means that it was flying for over half of its service life. The bird becomes the latest in a growing string of 747 retirements, including EVA Air, Delta and United.

With City of Bangkok bidding a fond farewell, it will eventually wind up in the front yard of the Corendon Village Hotel overlooking Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. (If you’d like to waltz through one without traveling to Europe, Delta has made that possible at its Atlanta-based Delta Flight Museum.) Just 11 747-400s remain in KLM’s fleet, with City of Guayaquil (tail number PH-BFG) taking the new crown of KLM’s oldest operating B744; that aircraft was delivered in November of 1990.

Next in line to take the “world’s oldest in-service 747-400” crown? That’d be G-BNLK, registered to British Airways, who has been flying since April of 1990. Ah, millennials.

H/T: Aviation Voice

Featured image of a KLM 747 by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy; additional reporting by Wallace Cotton


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