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Air Transport: Retiring Sooner Than Expected - Long-established Airliners

With the Covid-19 pandemic devastating the world's economies, air transport and airlines have been harder hit than most industries. Entirely reliant on the freedom and ability of both people and goods to travel, many airlines have borrowed and invested in new, quieter and cleaner aircraft types. The natural prpgression from older to newer types of aircraft has however, been dramatically affected by the virtual grounding of the airline industry. Aviation writer James White takes a personal look at the effect.

Following the withdrawal of the Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340 fleet, I started wondering what types other airlines could potentially withdraw from their fleets. Most will be temporary, but there could well be a few fleet groups that will disappear from the skies for good. Whilst there is no insider knowledge behind my thoughts (as usual), I figured I’d share what could well be feasible.

Post 9/11, the DC10, L1011 Tristar, Boeing 727 and Boeing 737-200 disappeared from mainstream flying. So I’m basing my theories on a similar pattern. Older types that are on their way out anyway, that could have their retirement expedited. I’m not saying any of these aircraft will be disappearing overnight. But they could disappear much quicker than originally anticipated.

Lufthansa will become the latest airline to retire the Boeing 747-400 from tomorrow. Two aircraft will position from Frankfurt and Beijing to Twente in The Netherlands for scrap. The two 747’s that are being retired are:

D-ABTL (2002)

D-ABVO (1996)