Queen of the Skies: You Can Still Fly Boeing 747s on these Routes

Lufthansa Boeing 747 8

The Boeing 747 is becoming increasingly rare at airports around the world – at least in the passenger version. More and more airlines are retiring the queen of the skies. The corona pandemic in particular has radically accelerated this process in some cases.

But there are still airlines that rely on the iconic four-jet aircraft, be it the Boeing 747-400 or its modern sister, the 747-8. In this article, we will show you which airlines continue to use the jumbo jets – and on which routes.

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Of course, the routes shown here can change at any time, the aircraft can be withdrawn and used on other routes or even completely retired.

Lufthansa

Lufthansa can claim the title of the world’s largest operator of Boeing 747s – both in the older variant 747-400 and in the modern version of the 747-8 – (if you exclude all cargo airlines).

The German airline has a total of 27 planes of the iconic four-engine passenger jet, all of which are in active service. These are divided into 8 Boeing 747-400 and 19 Boeing 747-8. This means that Lufthansa can also put on the crown for the most active 747-8s worldwide – and by a wide margin. So it’s no wonder that the jumbo is still used by the German flag carrier on numerous routes, especially to the USA and Asia.

Lufthansa Boeing 747 8I
Lufthansa operates the largest fleet of Boeing 747s © Lufthansa

Boeing 747-8 routes:

Boeing 747-400 routes:

Korean Air

Korean Air is another operator of the Boeing 747, but only in the 747-8 version. Korean Air currently still operates 9 four-jet aircraft in its own fleet. However, two of the jets are currently parked. Korean Air’s remaining 7 Boeing 747-8s are currently used primarily on routes to the United States and Japan.

Boeing 747-8 routes:

Air China

Air China currently operates a fleet totalling 472 aircraft, of which 10 are Boeing 747s still in service with the airline. Of these, 3 of the classic variant of the Boeing 747-400 are still in the air and 7 in the larger and modern 747-8 version. However, only on the route between Beijing and Guangzhou are both a 747-8 and a 747-400 in regular service. Of course, this is not least due to the already very limited international air traffic, due to the Chinese government’s zero-Covid strategy.

Boeing 747-400 & 747-8 routes:

Asiana Airlines

Asiana Airlines currently operates only one Boeing 747-400, which was recently out of service. As things stand, however, the only Asiana jumbo is now deployed every few days on a single route: between Seoul and Changchun-Longjia in China.

Boeing 747-400 routes:

Mahan Air

Iran’s civil aviation has been stalled for many years due to Western sanctions. Mahan Air is no exception, and the airline currently operates two very outdated Boeing 747-400 and a 747-300 in the combi variant. However, only one of the two passenger jumbos is currently used. The 32-year-old plane last flew from Tehran to Moscow and Istanbul.

Boeing 747-400 routes:

Other Boeing 747 Operators

Of course, the airlines listed above are not the only ones operating passenger jumbos in their fleets. But according to the current status, they are the only ones who use their 747 more or less regularly. For example, the US company Atlas Air, which actually specializes in cargo flights, currently operates two Boeing 747-400 passenger versions, which are used exclusively for charter flights. Nigeria’s Max Air fleet also includes two Boeing 747-400s, with one shown as currently in storage. The second 747, while still part of the airline’s active fleet, has not been in regular service for some time.

The Russian airline Rossiya has a significantly larger jumbo fleet, with at least 9 Boeing 747-400. However, all jumbos of the airline are currently grounded for the foreseeable future due to western sanctions imposed because of the war against Ukraine. Iraqi Airways is also one of the few remaining Boeing 747 operators. A 21-year-old Boeing 747-400 flies for the Iraqi airline mostly on short and medium-haul routes from Baghdad, for example to Saudi Arabia and Lebanon – albeit at very irregular intervals.

Conclusion

Large-capacity aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747 are having a very difficult time these days. The constantly increasing demand for efficient and flexible planes does not bode well for the jumbos and superjumbos of this world. More and more four-jet aircraft such as the Boeing 747 are finding their way into the desert, ending up being used for spare parts or being scrapped directly – except for the cargo airlines and those planes that are (partially) reactivated for cargo flights.

Nevertheless, there are still a handful of airlines that seem to find using the 747 profitable enough. And from a European perspective, in particular, aviation enthusiasts are very fortunate to have Lufthansa, the world’s largest operator of this iconic aircraft, in their continent. The more modern 747-8 in particular will probably be in service for many years to come, meaning that the jumbo will still be the queen of our skies for some time.

Cover Picture: Jan Rosolino

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Comment (1)

  1. James says:

    Do you have any idea whether the Boeing 747-8 will return to the FRA-JFK route in Summer 2023?

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