This morning, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines welcomed its last MD-11 passenger flight – KL672 – at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The flight, which arrived from Montreal, not only marks the end of KLM’s MD-11 operations worldwide, but also the end of a remarkable era in civil aviation. The partnership between KLM and aircraft manufacturer (McDonnell) Douglas lasted more than 80 years, which is truly unique.
Many MD-11 fans had bought a ticket to be aboard KLM’s very last scheduled service with the MD-11, which is popular among many travellers and aircraft photographers. In recent months, many fans also booked tickets on routes where KLM deployed the MD-11, even if it meant a longer journey.
With a welcoming shower, KLM gave a worthy farewell to this aircraft, which had been in service for 21 years. KLM has in recent years invested in a modern, economical and sustainable fleet, in which there was no room for the MD-11. The aircraft, with its characteristic third engine in the tail, had become expensive to maintain and has relatively high fuel consumption. Spare parts are hard to come by and it is no longer feasible to maintain stocks.
From October 2015, KLM will begin welcoming the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to its fleet. AIR FRANCE KLM has ordered 25 of these aircraft, the first of which is scheduled for delivery in October 2015. The Boeing Dreamliner can carry 276 passengers, burns 15% less fuel than its predecessor, and has lower noise impact and CO2 emissions. This coincides with KLM’s pledge to contribute to a more sustainable air transport industry. Until the new aircraft arrive, KLM will deploy its Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s to replace the MD-11.
Farewell Flights on 11 November
A series of MD-11 Farwell Flights will be operated on 11 November 2014. KLM has organised three special roundtrips over the Netherlands, giving fans a last chance to enjoy their favourite jetliner. Unfortunately, the tickets for these flights are sold out, but MD-11 aficionados do stand a chance of winning two last tickets in the social media campaign Bye-Bye MD-11, which will be on until Thursday, 30 October.
You can read more about the MD-11 and KLM’s partnership with (McDonnell) Douglas on the KLM blog. There is also a special MD-11 book (in Dutch) available via http://www.md-11.nl/.