On November 11 KLM joined 800 fans in bidding a final farewell to the MD-11. KLM had operated ten MD-11s since 1993, and said goodbye to the aircraft with three special farewell flights over the Netherlands.
Those in attendance were given one last chance to enjoy their favourite aircraft, with tickets for the exclusive flights having sold out in minutes upon first release. The last MD-11 flight also marked the end of a remarkable era in civil aviation, with KLM remaining the last airline in the world to deploy the MD-11, with the partnership between manufacturer Douglas and KLM having lasted more than 80 years.
KLM remains the only airline in the world to have operated every series-built aircraft type manufactured by Douglas, from the DC-2 through to the DC-10, from 1934 to the present day. It all began in 1934 with KLM’s first DC-2, which remained in service until 1946. The legendary PH-AJU “Uiver” (Stork), which won the handicap section of the London to Melbourne race in 1934, was a DC-2; its sister the DC-3 Dakota aircraft was also on show during the farewell event at Schiphol; and KLM remains the only airline to have operated the DC-5, after not cancelling its order during the Second World War. KLM bid a fond farewell to the legendary aircraft, marking the end of the Douglas era. Over the last few years, KLM has invested in a modern, fuel-efficient and sustainable fleet, which will see the MD-11 succeeded by the 294-seat Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in 2015. In the meantime, KLM will deploy its Airbus A330 and Boeing 777 airliners on applicable passenger routes until the new aircraft are delivered.