KLM operates its final Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet passenger flight


After nearly fifty years, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will operate its final Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet passenger flight on Sunday 29 March 2020.

Flight KL686 from Mexico City to Amsterdam Schiphol will be operated with Boeing 747-406(M) PH-BFT nicknamed ‘City of Tokyo’, a nearly 23 year old aircraft. The aircraft is expected to land at Schiphol at around 15:00 local time. The arrival will be broadcast live via the website of Dutch public broadcasting station NH Nieuws.

KLM will have operated the iconic Boeing 747 for passenger flights for almost fifty years. In January 1971, the Dutch airline took delivery of its very first Jumbo Jet, Boeing 747-200 PH-BUA ‘Mississippi’. Like many other airlines, KLM also had to construct a new aircraft maintenance hangar, big enough to support the Boeing 747. The Dutch airline has been a proud Boeing 747 operator ever since and operated the Jumbo Jet on passenger services to many of its international destinations including New York City, Los Angeles, Sint-Maarten and Tokyo.

KLM had planned to completely phase out the Boeing 747 by May 2021. Unfortunately, due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak and the resulting dramatic decline in demand for air travel, the Dutch airline was forced to move forward the final passenger flight of its Boeing 747 fleet.

Even though KLM still has three Boeing 747-ERF full freighter aircraft in the fleet and all of these three appear to be still operating cargo flights, this definitely marks the end of an era for Dutch aviation.

So long, Dutch Queen of the Skies. You will be missed…

29 March 2020

All photos: copyright © Ivan Coninx


  1. A beautiful aircraft. I remember KL converting some of their 747-200’s into 747-300 with the stretched upper deck. Quite a large job.
    Apart from the noise levels of the 747 and perhaps the fuel burn they are so much studier than the A380.

  2. It is absolutely heartbreaking to see all of our greatest marvels of the sky going away, never to return. This is indeed a dark period in Human Evolution and history. Sad and very disturbing, doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.

    Officer Cook

  3. Flew the B744 as a Commander for 22 yrs. I have retired and so too is my favourite aircraft going into retirement. This sure was the best aircraft I ever flew.

  4. My wife and I flew home last Sunday 3/22 on KLM flight 601 on a 747-400. During the flight we were told this would be the last flight ever of that particular plane. It was quite moving …the pilot wept as we deplaned…
    It was the most important flight I have everr flown… to come back from Europe to the United States… near the end of what seems to be almost a complete global shutdown of travel. I’ve never been more anxious to return and the 747 was absolutely a marvel. Goodnight sweet ride

  5. I’m as morose as everyone else here who’ve made the case more eloquently thank I ever could have. So long, 747.

  6. I flew from holland to Kuala Lumpur on the 747 400 ,may I say what a smooth ride she is (p.s I sneaked upstairs into first ) R.I.P beautiful jet you deserve the break

  7. I worked in schipol airport on the airfreight in 95&96..warehouse was next to the runways.. What an amazing job I had sitting & waiting on the plane to land..then rush out to unload all sorts odlf syuff.. Watching them. Land right in front of us I will never forget.. I loved KLM and my international family of colleagues. Good bye queen of the sky.. 👋❤️🌹👍✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️

  8. I was a B747 rated flight dispatcher for many many years and had the opportunity to fly in the cockpit of this beauty plenty of times with the known Captains whom I used to brief as well as my familiarisation flights. Have 747 as part of my email and user name everywhere.. 😀 as I just loved this aircraft more than any other. You will be missed but hope the cargo operators will use them for many more years to come for us to continue looking and admiring her landings and takeoffs which I will never ever get bored watching.

  9. I had the thrill of riding the Queen last month. I had hope that more opportunities would be in my future. Alas, that powerful ascent, confident glide over land and sea, and stable reassuring landing was my last chance to soar like a kestrel. What a treasured memory. 👍

  10. As a ground handling staff at CMB airport way back late eighties we used to handled scheduled flight from AMS-KHI-CMB-SIN-SYD-MEL- AKL and VV of KLM.
    It was fun always due very fewer discrepancies with Cargo and PO Mail.

  11. Remebering the sort of crash landing in 1979 at Renton WA airport. It was a big event to see this large 747 land at the little airstrip. Its where they crank out all the 737’s.
    We all were thinking how low it was, then it bounced off the seaplane ramp wherd airstrip met the lake. When we saw fure everyone ran thinking it wouldd bliw up. Always will be my favorite jet. Sorry i could not take one last flight. They will be missed. Here is a link.

  12. In May 1973 we flew from Mumbai to New Delhi on our honeymoon trip to Kashmir. Our first flight in 747 and we were so excited-myself in particular. At the time there were no divider cabins; you could look from one end to the other. It looked like a posh auditorium. Will miss it greatly.

  13. So sad to here KLM 747 grounded such a safe flight.my suggestion is why won’t you donate the 747 to Sri Lanka .we’re developing country and are Sri lankan Air lines are suffering on loans it’s nice if KLM can donate as a goodwill gesture
    Thank you so long KLM


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