The KLM Boeing 747 had only just retired and is already being taken out of the stable again, two of them to be exact. KLM does this in order to deploy additional freight capacity between the Netherlands and China for the transport of medical equipment and supplies for Philips. KLM and Philips announced this together on Thursday.
The 747-400s will be deployed from April 13 between Amsterdam and the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Beijing. In any case, the airlift will be maintained for a few weeks. At the end of March, KLM had already resumed flights to the Chinese cities with other passenger aircraft, which have limited space for freight. In the Boeing 747 combi there is much more capacity for freight and that is exactly what is needed.
Therefore, no passengers travel on flights to China with the 747, only freight. “We are looking more broadly at options for transporting freight in the cabin,” said a KLM spokesman. “Because the demand for and options for passenger flights are now very limited, but there is a great need for freight capacity.”
The recovery of the Boeing 747, the jumbo jet, will bring about 250 tons of extra freight capacity on the route between the Netherlands and China and vice versa. The aircraft will fly to Beijing twice a week from next week and to Shanghai three times a week.
Airlift between Europe, USA and China
KLM’s cargo aircraft, which also fly under the Martinair flag, are already being used for the transport of medical supplies for Philips on the route between Amsterdam and the United States.
Philips and KLM have worked together before. “It is good that we have quickly found each other again in times of need to jointly facilitate this important airlift to China. In combination with the existing airlift to the US, we can now transport essential medical products and supplies faster between the US, Europe and China, “said Frans van Houten, Chairman of the Board of Philips.
As a result of the corona crisis, KLM sent the iconic Boeing 747 early retirement. The four-engine aircraft is a lot less economical than more modern aircraft.