Fokker – The Final Farewell

Fokker aircraft were a common sight at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for many decade. Although they have become increasingly scarce in recent times, this did not diminish the passion for this reliable Dutch product. Aviation buffs and plane spotter in the Netherlands all know that Fokker’s days in Dutch service will draw to a close on 28 October 2017.

On that date, KLM Cityhopper will bid farewell to its last Fokkers. The past months have seen many people booking tickets for a final flight aboard a Fokker. There were also lots of cameras along the perimeter fences, especially when one of the last Fokker 70s was specially decorated for the farewell. The accompanying text says it all: “Thank You, Fokker”.

Perfect design for commuter jets

Many readers will be familiar with the post-war Fokkers: the F27, F28, F50, F100 and F70. All of these excellent, reliable, economic aircraft were very modern in their day, but the Fokker 70 was the best of the bunch. Although Fokker only built 48 of these aircraft before it went bankrupt, the F70 paved the way towards a perfect design formula for commuter jets.

In keeping with history, KLM Cityhopper chose to operate its last Fokker flight out of the London, with an English captain at the controls. When flight KL1070 from London Heathrow shuts down its Rolls-Royce Tay engines at Schiphol, the Fokker era at KLM will come to an end. However, the special bond between KLM and Fokker will live on in memory. Looking back on this era, many of the events can be captured as “what if” questions.

Fokker

What if KLM had not been allowed to operate flights to the United Kingdom with Fokkers?

KLM ordered its first Fokker aircraft in 1920, marking the start of their shared history, in which two great companies inspired each other to take great steps. However, the budding relationship between KLM and Fokker might have ended right there. In fact, Fokker/KLM administrator Albert Plesman, who later became KLM’s first CEO, included a very explicit resolutive condition in the procurement contract for the first Fokkers ordered by KLM.

Schiphol Fokker

Plesman did so just in case the British government would withhold permission to operate flights to the UK with Fokkers, which were seen as a mortal enemy by the British immediately after the First World War, because Germany’s dominant fleet of Fokker fighter planes were known to have prolonged the war.

Fokker Oldie

Eventually, KLM was permitted to fly Fokkers to England. To make this momentous milestone all the more special, the first scheduled Fokker service to Croydon near London on 14 April 1921 was operated by a British pilot.

Another question: what if there had been no Second World War and Fokker had not been spurred on by Plesman’s claims that the company was incapable of producing a modern aircraft?

Would the aircraft manufacturer have completed the development of both the F24 and the “flying wing” Project 180, the first truly intercontinental airliner? Would KLM have operated flights to many destinations with large, aluminium Fokker aircraft for decades?

And what if the dollar exchange rate hadn’t declined sharply against the Deutschmark and Dutch guilder in the 1990s?

Could Fokker have avoided bankruptcy and profited from the recovering airline market? Would it have developed a new generation of aircraft? And would those aircraft have worn KLM colours?

Fokker

Although these questions will never be conclusively answered, many things did gradually become clear for the editorial team creating the book “Dutch at Heart”, which celebrates KLM’s Fokker fleet. Based on the stories of KLM and Fokker staff as well as the curator, the bond between these two great Dutch companies is recounted from the day of establishment to the final weeks. You can order the book here: www.Fokker-70.nl.

3 = 1

At the end of October, Fokker aircraft will be leaving the Dutch commercial air transport scene for good. That leaves only two members of the Dutch Aviation Trinity – KLM, Fokker and Schiphol – as well as the memories of an era in which Fokker played a leading role in our industry. These memories are captured in the Fokker monument, symbolically uniting KLM, Fokker and Schiphol, which KLM Cityhopper will unveil at Schiphol Oost on 29 October 2017.

Fokker 70

Join the conversation Show comments

Stephen

The Fokker legacy will forever live on through KLMs history

Onthew

What a pity the special painted F70 farewell is not pictured:-(

Onthew

AHHH, I see that plane now in the post of Oct 23rd:-)

EMUAKPEJEKESSENA

HI KLM LOVE

MOHSEN KREFA

Fokker aircraft is my passion since my first visit on 1982 to Fokker Factory in Amstelveen with my dad, who was Fokker Libyan Airlines representative.
Great aircraft from great Dutch country .

Cléo Boberda

Hi KLM,

I’m really sad to hear that’s Fokker 70 is an very good airplane wit the KLM livery.
will you create a ceremony?

A.J.Lopes das Neves

First comercial jet i flew in my life.

Outstanding aircraft this Fokker 70.

Beautiful homebase Schiphol Airport.

Great Company,KLM Cityhopper.

Fernando Maggiori

Sad to see the Fokker leaving KLM. Will try to honor its legacy here @ Air Panama, were it keeps flying.

Arjan

RIP fockers you’ll be missed thank you KLM

MEHMOOD HUSSAIN

DEAR READERS,

GOOD WISHES FOR ALL, SINCE MY LATE FATHER WAS EMPLOYED AND LINKED WITH CIVIL AVIATION DEPTT, WAS
POSTED AT KARACHI AIRPORT EARLIER 1950 T0 1980 ERA,
AT THAT TIME F-27 WAS COMMONLY USED BY OUR NATIONAL
AIRLINE PIA, IT WAS THE SAFEST PLANE AT THAT TIME,

GOOD BYE FOKKER ERA,

GOOD WISHES,
MEHMOOD HUSSAIN,
mehmoodfaiz@yahoo.com
KARACHI-PAKISTAN

dirk septer

though in the 1970s I got to fly several times on one of the two Fokker F28s Transair operated on their Winnipeg-Thunder Bay-Sault Ste. Mary-Toronto sched.,
and more recently lucked out to fly on the Anthony Fokker-livery Fokker 70 between Aberdeen and Amsterdam, alas I never got to fly on the Fokker F27 Friendship or Fokker 50….. yet….
Dirk Septer

Reverend Julie Donn

Wishing you all the best on the last Fokker flights today – especially my sister Wendy Webber, senior cabin crew with KLM Cityhopper on the last Fokker flight from Dusseldorf to Amsterdam, and who leaves today after over 25 years loyal service with the company. With blessings for the future.
Julie

Josee Ramakers

My man Guul Goorhuis is so sad this weekend. He was testflight-engineer till the last day of #Fokker. The blackest day of his life. He still breaths Fokker. Never to see one fly makes him so sad

Gerhard E. Kentzler

Possibly one of the SAFEST Commercial Plane !

Laurence Jones

So sorry to see a type that has carried me over 200 times disappear from the fleet. Compounded by the fact that, having lost the Fokker 70, we have to contend with the awful RJ-85 on some of the schedules. If only the 70 could have been kept until there were enough Embraers in the fleet.

Sabine

I remember flying home in the 80s from Toronto to Luxembourg and connecting in Amsterdam to luxembourg and it was alway Fokker that flew us home to luxembourg. I’m glad to have been part of that history. I must say I love the city hopper for my travels these days.

Jos Valke

Went to to Turkey once in a F27 troopship, one of the most memorable flight i ever made

Karen Stewart

I was cabin crew on F27’s Friendship and F28’s Fellowship. When making the initial announcement i would say ‘ Welcome on board this friendship flight’ ( or fellowship). I always felt that we were in a cosy room enjoying each others company rather than a standard commercial flight. Many happy memories!

Mevrouw D.Paul

Dear KLM,
Recently, I gathered some informations about Rabindranath Tagore(1861-1941) and Fokker F12 published in a Bengali journal. The great poet, the Noble laureate of India spoke highly about KLM Fokker. In 1932 he went to Persia in Fokker F12.
He found the blue coloured plane very beautiful, and, the long flight was unusually smooth. There were lots of food and drinks. In the plane. He did enjoy the tea time to time. He was surprised to find the cleanliness inside the plane. According to Tagore, the pilot Mr. Van Dyke was a perfect gentleman..

Roberto

Too sad . Saying g-bye to a beloved and trustful partner of KLM … but everything has an end. Kudos for KLM and Fokker.

Chris Nicholson

Happy memories of travelling around Sweden in Linjeflyg’s F28s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *