Aircraft Retirements Accelerated Due to COVID-19

Winston ShekSTAFF | 03/17/2020

Many aircraft are being stored and parked due to a lack of demand during COVID-19.  However, with a lack of demand, some airlines have decided to accelerate aircraft retirements, with some beloved aircraft, leaving fleets.  Aircraft leaving fleets this year include the KLM 747, American 767, and Virgin Atlantic A340-600's.



KLM painted a special livery on its first 787-10(not the aircraft pictured), to honor its 100th anniversary, credit: TheExplorerBlog | Daniel Mena


The KLM 747-400 is scheduled to leave by the end of March.  According to data, the carrier's 747 started service in June of 1989.  However, its sister, the KLM 747-200, started much earlier, in 1971. Currently, the airline flies both the 747-400 and the 747-400 Combi.  The combi flies both cargo and passengers. Currently, during the time of writing, KLM flies 2 747-400's and 5 B747-400 Combi. However, these numbers are dwindling as the types slowly become eradicated.  The aircraft will be replaced with the newer KLM 777-300ER's and the newly arriving B787-10's. Currently, as of writing, the aircraft flies to Paramaribo, New York-JFK, Los Angeles, Toronto-Pearson, Mexico City, and Curacao.  The type was scheduled to leave in 2021.



An American 767-300ER departs from Las Vegas, credit: Christopher Arboleda


The American B767-300ER's are scheduled to leave by the end of May.  The carrier currently has 16 of the type and was scheduled to be retired at the end of 2020.  The aircraft is scheduled to be replaced by American's incoming B787-8. Also, the retirement of B757-200 for American has been accelerated to start in May and end by the summer of 2021.  American currently has 34 of them. These will be replaced by A321XLR's. 



A Virgin Atlantic A340 lands at Washington-Dulles, Credit: TheExplorerBlog | Dylan T


Additionally, the retirement of Virgin Atlantic A340's has been accelerated.  The last flight was last week, from Bridgetown to London-Gatwick. The A340 was first introduced into Virgin Atlantic's fleet in 1993 via the A340-300.  The last service for the bird was originally supposed to be on May 31st, from Washington-Dulles to London-Heathrow. The retirement date was pushed back originally, due to the ongoing Rolls Royce engine issues with the Boeing 787-9.  However, with a lack of demand, due to COVID-19, it allows for the A340-600 to be retired.




Delta Airlines plans to retire their MD80s, which is a similar aircraft to the B717 pictured above. Credit: TheExplorerBlog | Daniel Mena


Additionally, delta is considering early retirement of its MD88's and MD90's. Currently the airline flies 47 MD88's and 26 MD90's. MD'88's began service in December of 1987. These aircraft will be replaced by newer ones, such as their Airbus A220.



A Singapore Airlines B777-200ER lands at SYD, credit: TheExplorerBlog | Winston Shek


Finally, the retirement of the Singapore B777-200ER has been accelerated.to April 20th, from May.  The last flight is scheduled to be to Jakarta from Singapore, according to data from AirlineRoute. The aircraft is scheduled to be replaced with A350-900's and B787-10's.  Currently, the carrier has three of the type active, according to Flightradar24. There was a rumor that some of Singapore B777-200ER's are going to LOT Polish.  However, due to COVID-19, this news is not very likely.


What are your thoughts on the retirements of these aircraft.  Which aircraft retirement are you saddened by the most? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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