There Are Only 4 747 Passenger Jet Operators Remaining In 2024

After more than 50 years, Boeing announced in July 2021 that it will bring an end to the production of the iconic 747 line in 2022.

Dubbed the “Jumbo Jet”, the 747 revolutionized travel in many ways including significantly boosting the air travel industry globally, spurring on the development of other wide-bodies and providing excellent support to the air freight industry. However, the 747’s market was threatened as both Boeing themselves, and Airbus developed high capacity, long range and fuel efficient twin-engine wide-bodies.

The latest 747-8i passenger variant fell victim to this, receiving just a handful of orders as it was already up against the competing A380 quad-jet, as well as other twin-engine models, which were better suited for airlines’ changing needs.

Regardless, the uniquely shaped humpback aircraft has won the hearts of many, including the pilots, crew members and most importantly, the passengers.

With just a handful of passenger 747s remaining, here are the few airlines still operating them. For those not lucky to fly in the jumbo (like myself), cross your fingers as the pandemic has added another nail in the coffin of remaining passenger 747s.

Air China

Credit: Kiefer/Flickr | CC BY 2.0 Generic

Currently, Air China has a mixed 747 fleet, holding onto three older -400s and six -8is. All have returned to active service, with the -400s operating domestic flights within mainland China.

The newer -8s are all in service as well, operating a mix of domestic and international routes. If you’re looking for the long haul experience, you can connect from Beijing to cities like Los Angeles, New York and Frankfurt.

Officially, the airline operated seven 747-8is, but uses one (registered B-2479) solely for VIP transport.

Here is the seating configuration of the two types.

Seating configuration

  • 747-400: 10 first class seats, 42 business (24 in the upper deck and 18 below), and 292 economy.
  • 747-8i: 12 first class seats, 54 business (30 in the upper deck and 24 below), 66 premium economy and 233 economy.

Korean Air

Credit: Alec Wilson/Flickr | CC BY 2.0 Generic

Korean Air currently has nine 747-8is in their fleet, all of which are in active service. They are all used on long haul routes between Seoul, and the United States and Europe. Currently they fly to Honolulu, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Paris and London.

Korean sits behind Lufthansa in terms of 747-8i orders, taking on a total of 10 passenger jets. One (registered HL7643) has been leased to the Government of South Korea to provide VIP transport services for government heads. It carries a new livery and is registered as 22001.

Seating configuration

  • 747-8i: 6 first class seats, 48 business (22 in the upper deck and 26 below), and 314 economy.


Credit: 11180Cuong/PxHere | CC0 1.0 Universal

Lufthansa is back in the 747 game, operating its entire fleet of 19 747-8is and eight 747-400s. The older -400s are expected to be replaced by newer Boeing 777-9s (if they are ever delivered on time). The German carrier is both the launch customer and the largest 747-8 operator, with all 19 of its -8is back in service.

Being one of two major airlines operating the 747-8i, Lufthansa and Korean are two safe airlines to fly if you want to plan your first 747 trip. Of course if you want the more traditional experience, you can search for a -400 route with Lufthansa.

These 747s operate a wide variety of routes across the United States, South America, Asia and South Africa.

Seating configuration

  • 747-400: 67 business class seats (22 in the upper deck and 45 below), 32 premium economy, and 272 economy.
  • 747-8i: 8 first class seats, 80 business (32 in the upper deck and 48 below), 32 premium economy, and 244 economy.

Mahan Air

Credit: Simisa/Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported

Iranian airline Mahan Air still has one 747-400 in its name (EP-MEE). The airline has another 747-400 which was in storage for over 10 years before being brought back into service in 2019. It operated flights within the region but flew its last flight in June 2021 before entering storage from October 2021.

Even though Mahan Air’s 747 shows very vague activity from time to time, it appears that it only operates on domestic runs within Iran.

Seating configuration

  • 747-400: 26 business class seats and 434 economy.

Featured image: Alec Wilson/Flickr | CC BY 2.0 Generic

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