Lufthansa 747 Makes Cameo Appearance In Barcelona
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Frankfurt Airport, Munich Airport
- Year Founded:
- Star Alliance
- Airline Group:
- Lufthansa Group
- Carsten Spohr
- Stock Code:
- Date Founded:
- Dave Calhoun
- Headquarters Location:
- Chicago, USA
- Key Product Lines:
- Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787
- Business Type:
Lufthansa’s flight from Frankfurt to Barcelona is the domain of one of its narrowbody aircraft, predominantly operated by Airbus A320-family aircraft. So it must have been quite a pleasant surprise to regular passengers on the route when they saw a Boeing 747 roll up for the flight.
On Friday, Lufthansa flight LH1134 was operated by a Boeing 747-400, with the registration D-ABVZ and MSN 29870, delivered to Lufthansa in February 2001. The Jumbo departed Frankfurt Airport (FRA) at 14:29 and arrived at Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN) at 16:01. But why was an aircraft configured to carry 371 passengers used for a service typically flown with an Airbus A320-family aircraft? Yesterday, the same flight from Frankfurt operated with a 29-year-old A321-100, registered as D-AIRH with an MSN of 412.
Still the Queen of the Skies
The first thought was a charter flight for a big FC Barcelona football match or another major sporting event, but a quick look at Flightradar 24.com data soon kicked that idea into touch. The data shows the 747-400 was on the ground for less than one hour, departing Barcelona Airport at 16:55 and arriving home in Frankfurt at 19:18, after a 1:46 hour flight. Thanks to an observant and sharing planespotter, we have this great view of the Lufthansa jumbo gracefully landing in Barcelona.
With most airlines putting their 747s out to pasture when Covid first ravaged aviation in 2020, there might be some clues about this mission from what it has been doing since then. According to Planespotters.net, D-ABVZ was stored at Frankfurt Airport from April 20 to July 29, 2020, when it moved to Hamburg Airport (HAM). It had a long spell in Hamburg, staying there until September 7, 2021, before returning to Frankfurt, where it remained, apart from a short break, until December 6, 2021.
The holidays ended on December 6, when D-ABVZ departed Frankfurt Airport on flight LH630 to Dubai International Airport (DXB), returning to Frankfurt the following day at 05:46. Since then, the 747 has operated almost daily services to most parts of the globe, including North and South America, India, the Middle East and Asia. Some of its more regular destinations include Bengaluru (BLR) and Mumbai (BOM) in India, Orlando (MCO) in the US and Vancouver (YVR) in Canada. After returning from Barcelona on Friday night, the Jumbo was on the ground for less than 24 hours before heading to Boston Logan Airport (BOS) yesterday at 14:04.
All of the 747s are earning their keep
Lufthansa has 19 Boeing 747-8s operating, complementing its fleet of eight 747-400s. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying
Lufthansa is currently operating twenty-seven 747s, eight 747-400s and 19 of the newer 747-8s. The average age of the 747-400s is 22.5 years, whereas the 747-8 fleet averages just nine years. The oldest 747-400 variant, aircraft D-ABVM, was delivered to Lufthansa in February 1998, while the youngest, D-ABTK, arrived in December 2001. The Type 8s joined Lufthansa’s fleet between April 2012 and 2015. Out of its total fleet of 310 aircraft, Lufthansa has 57 listed as inactive, but all the 747s are out there earning money and not enjoying an idle retirement.
This leaves the mystery of why this short-haul was operated by a 747. Was it a training or check flight for the flight crew? Hopefully, the answer will appear shortly in the comments section below.
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