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Who Flies the Boeing 747 in 2024?

Following the end of Boeing’s 747 program in early 2023, commercial operations using this aircraft model have sustained their strength and consistency. Four carriers, based in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, persist in offering routine services aboard the 747-400 and 747-8 variants. These operators are your best chance of getting a ride on the Boeing 747 in 2024. Let’s figure them out!

Air China

Boeing 747 in 2024
Photo: Artyom_Anikeev | iStock

Air China, despite the reduction in its 747 fleet over recent years, continues to operate ten aircraft: three 747-400s, with an average age of 27 years, and seven 747-8s, although two are listed by ch-aviation as undergoing maintenance. The airline has announced its intention to operate the longest non-stop passenger 747 services through 2024, deploying its 747-8 aircraft for the 17-hour flight between Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) and New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Air China’s most frequented 747 route for this year is between Beijing and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN), with the airline deploying both the 747-400 and 747-8 models for flights that operate up to twice daily. Additional significant routes feature flights from Beijing to Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX), and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG).

Despite the advancing age of the 747-400s, there seem to be no immediate plans from the carrier to retire them, as these aircraft continue to serve high-demand domestic routes effectively.

Korean Air

Boeing 747 in 2024
Photo: Jeffry Surianto | Pexels

Korean Air, mirroring Emirates’ approach with the Airbus A380, has successfully leveraged the spacious cabins and luxurious amenities of its 747-8s, including premium interiors and Prestige Class seating. The airline presently maintains a fleet of nine 747-8s, with one currently in maintenance.

In 2024, Korean Air plans to maintain its 747 operations on trans-Pacific routes with high demand, flying from Seoul’s Incheon International Airport (ICN) to destinations such as Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), and New York, in addition to flights to Europe including Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) in Australia.

Additionally, the aircraft is sometimes utilized for selected short and medium-haul routes, offering passengers the opportunity to experience the 747 on flights to Shanghai, Narita International Airport (NRT) in Tokyo, Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), and Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport (TPE).


Boeing 747 in 2024
Photo: Victor Ambriz | iStock

Lufthansa recognized as the world’s largest operator of passenger 747s, maintains a fleet of 27 aircraft: eight 747-400s and 19 747-8s.

The 747-8s, being relatively newer, are expected to serve Lufthansa for an extended period, especially on high-demand long-haul routes. However, 2024 might mark the final full year of operations for the 747-400s, which average about 24 years in age. These aircraft have been omitted from Lufthansa’s Allegris cabin updates and are anticipated to be phased out by late 2025.

For the time being, Lufthansa operates its 747s from Frankfurt, covering various destinations across Asia, North America, and South America. Flights to Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (BLR), Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in Delhi, and Seoul, which run daily, are likely the best opportunities to fly on a 747-400.

In 2024, Lufthansa plans to deploy its 747-8s on busy transatlantic routes to destinations such as Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), Miami International Airport (MIA), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and on Asia-bound flights to Singapore and Haneda Airport (HND) in Tokyo.


Boeing 747 in 2024
Photo: Asuspine via Wikimedia Commons

Saudia, while not directly operating the 747, continues to utilize two 747-400s through a wet lease arrangement with Air Atlanta Europe Malta. These jets are primarily used to increase capacity during the busy Hajj season. Nonetheless, they are also regularly flown on routes from Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) to Algiers’ Houari Boumediene Airport (ALG) and from Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport (MED) in Medina to Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (DAC), with occasional flights to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL).

With the approach of this year’s Hajj in June, the frequency of these services is expected to increase, underscoring the strategic importance of retaining the 747s in Saudia’s fleet.

Are you planning to travel on a Boeing 747 this year? Share your plans in the comments section below!


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