Boeing 747 Operators: Which Airlines Fly the Queen of the Skies in 2024?

When I first published an article similar to this one a few years ago, there were still about 20 airlines operating the one and only Queen of the Skies – Boeing 747 – on scheduled flights. That number has, unfortunately, dwindled to just four or five airlines making the type now rarer than the Airbus A380.

Not only that but the predominant variant is now the latest 747-8 rather than the 747-400.

Continue reading to learn more about airlines that still fly Boeing 747s in 2024 – especially those using the type on passenger routes.

Boeing 747
Unfortunately, there are not that many 747s on scheduled passenger flights these days.

Passenger Boeing 747 Operators in 2024

Currently, three airlines – Air China, Korean Air, and Lufthansa – operate relatively large fleets of passenger Boeing 747s. They are also the world’s only airlines to have received passenger 747-8s (excluding VIP aircraft).

Additionally, Asiana Airlines, Mahan Air, MaxAir, Rossiya, and Saudi Arabian Airlines still have some passenger 747s too.

Air China

Air China Boeing 747Air China is, together with Lufthansa, one of the two operators using both the 747-400 and the 747-8. At this point, it only has two active airframes of the former. Of the seven 747-8s it received from Boeing, five are currently active. One of those operates for the Chinese government as a VIP plane.

When it comes to scheduled passenger flights, the 747-400s are used exclusively on domestic flights while the 747-8s can be seen on both domestic and international flights.

The main domestic route operated by the 747 is Beijing Capital – Guangzhou. International flights on which the 747-8 will appear at one point or another in 2024 include Beijing Capital – Frankfurt and Beijing Capital – New York JFK. Once in service, the latter will be the longest passenger 747 route in the world by block time.

Air China 747-400s have 344 seats in three classes (first, business, and economy). Its 747-8s have 365 seats in four classes (first, business, premium economy, and economy). That said, the premium economy class seats are just economy class seats with extra legroom.

Currently, there are no official retirement plans for the Air China 747s.

Learn more about Air China 747 fleet, routes, and retirement plans

Asiana Airlines

Asiana Airlines Boeing 747While in the past Asiana Airlines operated a larger passenger 747 fleet, today, it is left with only a single passenger 747-400. On top of that, it also operates several 747 freighters.

Asiana Airlines’ last passenger 747 is registered HL7428 and was delivered to the airline brand new in 1999. For quite some time now, the aircraft has been exclusively operating short-haul flights out of Seoul Incheon Airports. Among others, it regularly flew to Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo Narita, and Osaka Kansai. At the beginning of 2024, it is scheduled to fly to Sapporo.

The aircraft is equipped with 398 seats including 10 first class seats, 24 business class seats, and 364 economy class seats. That said, the first class seats are being sold as business class seats.

In early 2023, I had a chance to fly on HL7428 from Seoul Incheon to Tokyo Narita. I wrote in detail about the flight, as well as the aircraft, here.

Korean Air

Korean Air Boeing 747While until relatively recently Korean Air operated both the 747-400 and the 747-8, at this point it only operates the latter.

The airline received 10 747-8 airframes between 2015 and 2017, and it still owns all of them. That said, one of them hasn’t flown in a few months now (perhaps it is undergoing heavier maintenance) and one of them has been leased to the Korean Air Force which uses it as a VIP plane.

Korean Air’s 747-8s regularly operate flights from Seoul Incheon to Atlanta and Honolulu in the United States, Paris Charles de Gaulle in France, Singapore, and Sydney in Australia. Occasionally, they also appear on shorter but busy routes like Seoul Incheon – Tokyo Narita.

Each Korean Air 747-8 can seat 368 passengers in three classes (first, business, and economy). In business class, the aircraft is equipped with the excellent Apex Suites.

It seems that Korean Air’s passenger 747s will be retired by 2031.

Learn more about Korean Air 747 fleet, routes, and retirement plans


Lufthansa Boeing 747Having received its first Boeing 747 in 1970 and still operating the type over 50 years later, Lufthansa was not only one of the first operators of the type but is also the airline to have operated the 747s the longest. At this point, it is also the largest passenger 747 operator in the world. It is most likely to keep that distinction as long as it keeps operating the type.

Currently, Lufthansa operates two 747 variants: the 747-400 and the 747-8 for the passenger version of which it was the launch customer. In total, Lufthansa operates 27 747 airframes including eight “-400s” and 19 “-8s.”

The former are equipped with 371 seats in three classes (business, premium economy, and economy). The latter, albeit larger, “only” have 364 seats. The main reason behind that is the fact that Lufthansa’s 747-8s are in a four class configuration which includes first class.

Lufthansa 747s can be seen on long-haul flights out of Frankfurt to mainly destinations in North America and Africa. That said, they also serve some destinations in South America and Africa like Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, and Sao Paulo.

There are no official retirement plans for either the 747-400 or 747-8 at this point.

Learn more about Lufthansa 747 fleet, routes, and retirement plans

Mahan Air

Mahan Air Boeing 747Unlike the other airlines in this list, Mahan Air owns not only a pair of 747-400s but also a 747-300 which I had a chance to fly on a few years ago.

That said, the 747-300 and one of the 747-400s haven’t flown for quite some time now. Mahan Air’s last active 747, a 747-400 registered EP-MEE, was originally delivered to United Airlines back in 1990. It was acquired by Mahan Air in 2008. Originally registered as EP-MNA, the aircraft was re-registered in 2022.

Currently, the Mahan Air 747-400 flies regularly on domestic flights in Iran, primarily on the very busy Tehran Mehrabad – Mashad route. The aircraft is equipped with 442 seats including 44 in business class and 398 in economy class.

Max Air

Having been founded in 2008, Max Air is a relatively young Nigerian airline operating an all-Boeing fleet on domestic flights around the country and international flights to Saudi Arabia.

According to most sources, the airline owns two 747-400s (although its website claims three) of which one, registered 5N-HMM, appears to be active. That said, it doesn’t seem like the aircraft has flown since November 2023, and so it’s unclear what the future holds for it.

The aircraft was originally delivered to Korean Air in 1998 as HL7404. It was acquired by Max Air in 2016. It is in a fairly high-density configuration with 16 business class seats and 516 economy class seats for a total of 532 seats.


Rossiya Boeing 747Rossiya Airlines, a fully-owned subsidiary of Aeroflot, acquired Transaero’s fleet of Boeing 747-400s upon its demise.

While it started with and still owns nine airframes of the type, most of them have been sitting on the ground since 2022 and 2023. With the ongoing situation in Ukraine and related sanctions against Russia, the airline is unable to secure the spare parts it needs to keep the airframes airworthy.

That said, two airframes – RA-73286 and RA73289 – flew in the last quarter of 2023, mainly operating flights between Moscow Sheremetyevo and Khabarovsk. In the past, the aircraft were mainly used on flights to holiday destinations like Bangkok, Phuket, Antalya, and Punta Cana.

Whether the aircraft will fly regularly in 2024 (and if so, on what routes) remains to be seen.

Saudi Arabian Airlines

The last airline to still have active Boeing 747s is Saudi Arabian Airlines. More specifically, Malta’s Air Atlanta Europe operates a pair of passenger 747-400s registered 9H-AZA and 9H-AZB on behalf of Saudi Arabian Airlines. Both were originally delivered to Air France, in 2004 and 2003 respectively.

Saudia’s 747s operate mainly scheduled “pilgrimage” flights between Jeddah and Medina in Saudi Arabia and large cities in countries with a Muslim majority. Among others, the 747s can be seen on flights to Algiers, Algeria; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Jakarta, Indonesia. They also operate some domestic flights between Jeddah and Medina.

The aircraft are equipped with 465 seats including 16 in business class and 449 in economy class.

Cargo and Other Boeing 747 Operators in 2024

While the number of passenger Boeing 747s on scheduled flights around the world has gone down drastically over the last few years, luckily, there are still hundreds of 747s in service as cargo aircraft, VIP aircraft, and so on.

Some of the largest cargo 747 operators include (all of the below operate both the 747-400 and 747-8 unless otherwise noted):

  • Atlas Air (including the heavily modified 747-400LCF Dreamlifters on behalf of Boeing)
  • UPS
  • Cargolux
  • Kalitta Air (747-400 only)
  • Cathay Pacific

The governments/air forces of Bahrain, Dubai, Iran, Qatar, and Turkey among others, continue to use 747s as VIP aircraft.

Lastly, there are a few specially modified 747s serving as, for example, aircraft engine testbeds (Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce), rocket launch platforms (Stratolaunch), and “Doomsday planes” (US Air Force).

China Airlines Cargo 747
China Airlines Cargo is one of the airlines that operate 747 freighters.
Atlas Air Dreamlifter
Atlas Air operates Boeing’s heavily modified 747 freighters, the Dreamlifters.


Once a widebody that could be seen on a large share of long-haul flights, today, only a few dozen passenger 747s remain in service. The majority of those are operated by Air China, Korean Air, and Lufthansa, with a few other airlines having an airframe or two each.

Luckily, though, thanks to the fairly new 747-8 and the large number of cargo 747s in service, the Queen of the Skies will continue to grace the skies for quite some time.

First published on 2017/12/23. Updated regularly since then. Last updated on 2023/12/13.

46 thoughts on “Boeing 747 Operators: Which Airlines Fly the Queen of the Skies in 2024?”

  1. Thanks for publishing this guide! My first flight actually was on an Air China 747-400… though I barely remember anything right now.
    As for the Houston-Luanda flight, you have to book through a special travel agent in Houston. The agency’s name is “World Travel Agency” and its contact information can be found here:

  2. This is a great guide. As the list becomes shorter no doubt we will see enthusiasts become sentimental and planning for a last flight, although it’s a few years off yet.
    I did the same with my favourite plane ( Lockheed L-1011 Tristar) after flying frequently on them for 25 years, mostly Cathay, some ANA…now only found in museums.

  3. REALLY good article I have NEVER flown with a 747 but I want to give this article a bookmark so I can ALWAYS find it and find out where to fly in September, probably I’ve never been odd 747, but that is completely ready my favorite machine found on this land and I hope to see 748 for many years to come and hopefully fly with them, right now I only go after 747-400 to get the first flight with it believe that the right variant!

  4. Thanks for what you’re doing here man, I’m glad there are still people around who care about this flying legend.

  5. My last flight with B747-400 was MNL-TPE in january 2016 with EVA Air. I’m planning to fly for first time with B747-8i: Prague-Incheon with Korean Air.

  6. I saw BA 747-400 at SAN in November 2017. Awesome plane! Seems like the good ole planes are going away…L 1011 was my personal favorite but was not able to fly it. So I’m going to fly 747-400 before it goes away for good! ?? Y’all should do the same. You never know what you miss until you miss it! LoL

  7. Hello,

    I am half Persian and just letting you guys know that Mahan Air is still operating the 747-300 From Tehran to Mashad. My aunt took this flight today on, April 15, 2018. I’m very glad the flight is still in service.

  8. British Airways operates a 747 daily to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from London-Heathrow. It is British Airways Flight 67

  9. Qantas between SYD and JFK via LAX (both directions) is 747-400 for the U.S. leg and A380 trans-Pacific, except for Tuesday departures (as of 2018) when the 747 flies the full route.

  10. BA also operate 747-400 from Heathrow to following African Cities Accra, Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg

  11. I had the opportunity to fly in this iconic aircraft many times during my work. I felt this was the quietest aircraft to fly at 37000, 38000 feet at 600 mph. One of the airliners used to call their upperdeck “megatop”. Once or twice I got upgraded to the upperdeck and could see the big wings flex during turbulence but never felt safer sitting inside this aircraft. I still fly it once in a while but nowadays it is mainly 777s or 340s. I will miss flying in this aircraft.

  12. I fly in B747 on TG203 from BKK to HKT here 27 September, i verry love this aircraft.

    But i have been free upgraded to Upper Deck on the JumboJet because of my aircraft from Copenhagen has been delayd so i have miss my original flight.

  13. Hi, I would like to experience flying in a 747-400 before it is grounded for good. So may i know which airlines flies 747-400 series ex KLIA? Pls revert asap, TQ, Rgds

  14. Just back from Hong Kong on Qantas got 747 400 both ways good old jumbo !! thanks to the crew on QF127 and 128 for letting me view the flight deck also it be replaced by 789 by December I I hope fly on Thai 747 next year if it still operating

  15. Great guide, just wanted to add that you do not need to fly anywhere in order to experience “the queen of the skies” if you ever pass by ARN and have a layover, you can sleep in one as well…….or you can even just take the free shuttle and have an ice cream sitting on the outdoor cafe on the wings…..overlooking the runway….

    I often stay at the Radisson next door, and it is pretty cool to go and have dinner in a 747….

    It is an old 747-200 that used to fly for Singapore and Pan Am, now it is a hostel, hotel, cafe and sits right off the runway (landside), story is that the last owner went bankrupt and they just dragged the plane from holding to the current location……..seems like there are pictures of that in the media section.

  16. Griffin Ripley

    Hey, just to add, Lufthansa has a regular 744 route to Philadelphia as well. It used to be an A340 but that was momentarily replaced by an A333 which has now been replaced by the 744, indefinitely. There was even a 748 a couple weeks ago to Philly. Flight LH426. Great article!!!

    Philly also sees regular 744 traffic from British Airways on flight BA67.

  17. Thank you for this article. After checking on your previous version, I am now scheduled to fly Thai Airways HKT – BKK return with B747 this coming weekend. First time with the queen and it’s booked only for the queen! Hope they will not change the aircraft last minute!

    1. Hi Zoe, thanks for your comment – hope your flight will be operated by the Jumbo as scheduled. Enjoy!

  18. Thanks for the article!
    This winter British Airways will start flying the 787-9 on the LHR-PHX route, it was using the 747-400.

  19. It looks like KLM will quit flying the 747 to Chicago soon. My flight from Chicago to Amsterdam on Christmas was changed from a 747 to a 787 as was the return in January.

  20. Michael Earith

    I am attempting to compile a list of each airline that operated the Boeing 747-400 and in particular would like to know the launch route of every 744 operator.

    1. Hi Don, do you mean a flight within Europe? Not sure there are any operating at this point. British Airways was supposed to do some to celebrate their 100th anniversary, but those have been cancelled.

  21. Philippine Airlines were planning to use their new 747-400s they had on order for flights to Europe in 1995 .

    What routes were those going to be?

  22. I was stationed at Paine AFB, Everett, WA where the 747 was built. I saw the roll-out of the first model in September, 1968. I’ve flown to New Zealand, Hawaii, Guam, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong on various 747s. In about 1976, I flew all the way around the world on Pan AM #1…… several 747s. Absolutely marvelous aircraft. I was privileged to fly first class on many of those trips, so I was very literally spoiled by the experience. Today’s air travel is just plain awful. It is sad to see them phased out…………but then, I’m getting old, too. I guess my “phase out” will happen, too!

  23. Vegas Traveler

    SFO-AMS on KL next week, returning a week later. I specifically booked the 747 options for both legs. Lower deck there, upper deck back.

    KL better not change the aircraft on me or I’ll be very unhappy as I finally get to cross this one off my bucket list.

    1. Two KLM 747 updates.
      SFO-AMS no longer 747 end of Oct 2019. Replaced with either 777 or 787
      LAX-AMS no longer daily after 3/2020. Will be 3x/wk, other days either 777 or 787

  24. I fell in love with aircraft because of the 747.. the last time I flew in one was back when Cathay Pacific still flew them LHR – HKG. There is just this feeling about walking into an aircraft then going up the stairs.

    I have yet to try the 787-8 and really keen on giving it a go (long or short). Does any airline currently fly them in and out of DXB?

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