No, I don't mean Kenny Rogers, who died last night at age 83. I mean that Royal Dutch Airlines KLM has decided to remove all their 747s from service nine months early because of the pandemic:
The current date of the final flight is March 26, though even that date could get moved up if more flight cancellations ensue.
Generally speaking, fleet retirements are met with large fanfare. The last two major airlines to retire the 747-400, United and Delta, both in 2017, had large send-off parties and several “final” flights for aviation fans and employees alike.
KLM’s retirement of the 747-400 was expected to be the same. The airline announced late last year that the final revenue flight was set to occur on January 3, 2021, from New York JFK to Amsterdam. Even if passengers weren’t able to be on the last flight, the final months were sure to see thousands of people going out of their way to fly on the Queen of the Skies one last time.
The Officer Wayfinder post has tons of photos from inside one of the 1990s-era 747s en route from the US to Johannesburg.
I had a chance to see one of these guys pass a few meters above my head at Princess Juliana Airport (SXM) in 2014: