European flag carrier KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will phase out its final Fokker 70 on October 29, 2017, ending 20 years of service with the type. There is no room for Netherlands nostalgia in the airline eyes as it replaces the locally-produced airliner with more cost-efficient E175 and E190 models from Brazilian manufacturer Embraer, but it is planning a fond farewell for the Fokker.
Having already disposed of its Fokker 27 and 50 turboprops and its larger Fokker 100 jets, KLM’s regional arm KLM Cityhopper promises the Fokker 70s retirement will not pass quietly with a “festive day full of gratitude, particularly to the legendary Anthony Fokker (1890-1939) and the company he founded,” planned.
In fact to commemorate the Netherlands’ leading aviation pioneer, KLM has decorated the fuselage and tail of what will be its last remaining Fokker 70 with a portrait of Anthony Fokker, and a design marking 97 years of shared history between Fokker and KLM. “We wanted to find a way to thank everyone who has worked on Fokker 70s for their efforts and dedication. What better way to do this than by way of the aircraft itself,” says Stefan Vermeeren, fleet manager for the Fokker 70 at KLM cityhopper.
Anthony Fokker was certainly a visionary and his first propeller-driven plane, which he designed and built in 1910, called ‘De Spin’ (The Spider) made its first ever short flight on August 31, 1911 over Haarlem, earning him worldwide acclaim and the nickname ‘The Flying Dutchman’.
Anthony Fokker once said: “When I was about sixteen years old and first heard about flying machines, my only goal in life was to become a pilot. Pilots were a new kind of hero. Maybe that’ s what appealed to me most: I wanted to be a hero too!” He subsequently dedicated most of his life to making that dream come true.
KLM continues to operate nine Fokker 70s according to CAPA’s Fleet Database and these are currently scheduled to operate between Amsterdam and 29 international destinations over the remainder of the summer 2017 schedule. KLM says its last Fokker will complete its final commercial flight on October 28, 2017, but it is keeping the final service and destination secret at this time.
According to OAG, its current schedules show the final day of Fokker 70 service comprising flights between Amsterdam and Basel/Mulhouse, Bremen, Brussels, Durham Tees Valley, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hannover, Humberside and Norwich.
KLM says that after its final day in scheduled operation some form of commemoration is planned for October 29, 2017. “Our last Fokker will complete its final commercial flight for KLM on 28 October, but we’ll be keeping the destination secret. The day thereafter will be very special too, but that’s another secret. All will be revealed in good time!,” it confirms.