Special delivery!

Posted by at 14:00

You’ve probably travelled with KLM at least once or twice. Most likely you were not alone in the plane. And I don’t just mean in terms of the other passengers and the crew. KLM is the only airline to include the Boeing 747-400 ‘combi’ in its fleet. This aircraft has passenger seating at the front and a cargo section on the main deck at the back, which means that you might well have been travelling with a very special cargo too.

Van Gogh
Last year, the National Art Centre in Tokyo opened an exhibition of the works of Vincent van Gogh taken from the collections of the Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands. KLM was entrusted with transporting the artworks to Tokyo. However, after the plane had taken off with the Van Gogh artworks on board, the Van Gogh Museum realised that one drawing had been forgotten. At the last minute, KLM Cargo made sure that the item in question was carried on the next flight. The pilot was so pleased to be transporting this famous artwork that he kept it with him in the cockpit and guarded it ‘with his life’.

Henri Matisse
Also last year, KLM transported the Dance (La Danse), the world-renowned painting by the French artist Henri Matisse, from the Hermitage in St Petersburg to Amsterdam. This sizeable painting measures 4.22 metres wide by 2.90 metres high and, together with its cabinet, weighed in at around 400 kilograms. Of course, transporting a ‘Matisse’ is a serious business and two load masters accompanied the shipment to oversee loading and unloading operations at St Petersburg and Schiphol.

Matisse painting kl

Big artworks are usually transported in ‘combi’ aircraft because a courier or security expert can then accompany the shipment. Loading artworks requires specific knowledge. You obviously can’t stack them and you have to position them on board so that they are parallel to the length of the plane. This reduces the pressure on the canvas and provides stability.

Matisse aan boord kl

So, as you see, transporting a genuine Van Gogh or a four-metre-wide Matisse across continents requires much more than a strong box and a temperature-controlled hold.

Matisse op platform kl

Next time you travel with KLM in one of our sixteen Boeing 747-400 ‘combi’ aircraft, you might just wonder what special delivery you’re travelling with.

Karin
Corporate Communications

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23 Responses to Special delivery!

  1. Anthony Poon

    The bulk of KLM’s B747-400 fleet are combis with several all-pax versions in between them.
    If I am not mistaken, KLM’s PH-BFC “City of Calgary” was the first ever B747-400M built & coming  off assembly line at Boeing Everett.
    KLM is not the only airline operating the B747-400M, aside from KLM the following world airlines also operate & have this aircraft type in their fleet namely: Asiana, Air France, Lufthansa, Air China, EVA Air, Air Canada, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines….

    • Up"n"Down

      Malaysia Airlines sold their combi 747-400 during the Asian Financial Crisis to Qantas

    • Guest

      Air Canada no longer has combi aircraft in their fleet. The latest the 747-400 was used was 2003.

    • KLM

      Thanks for your replies. We missed something here and we sort it out for you. We come back as soon as possible with the right information.

  2. Anthony Poon

    The bulk of KLM’s B747-400 fleet are combis with several all-pax versions in between them.
    If I am not mistaken, KLM’s PH-BFC “City of Calgary” was the first ever B747-400M built & coming  off assembly line at Boeing Everett.
    KLM is not the only airline operating the B747-400M, aside from KLM the following world airlines also operate & have this aircraft type in their fleet namely: Asiana, Air France, Lufthansa, Air China, EVA Air, Air Canada, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines….

    • Up"n"Down

      Malaysia Airlines sold their combi 747-400 during the Asian Financial Crisis to Qantas

    • Guest

      Air Canada no longer has combi aircraft in their fleet. The latest the 747-400 was used was 2003.

    • KLM

      Thanks for your replies. We missed something here and we sort it out for you. We come back as soon as possible with the right information.

  3. airlineroute

    EVA Air of Taiwan also operates Boeing 747-400COMBI aircraft

  4. airlineroute

    EVA Air of Taiwan also operates Boeing 747-400COMBI aircraft

  5. 04

    KLM is the only combi aircraft because passengers prefer the more friendly airlines. Next step KLM: One part Cargo – other part cattle. Wish you luck ;-)

  6. Guest

    Canadian North operates combi aircraft the 737-200.

  7. Guest

    Canadian North operates combi aircraft the 737-200.

  8. airlineroute

    For Boeing 747-400COMBI, Air China, ASIANA, EVA Air operates them as well. 

    • KLM

      You are right! A few Asian airlines are indeed operating 747-400 combi aircaft as well, be it in limited numbers. Several other airlines used to have them, but either converted them to full passenger or full freighter aircraft. We apologize for the confusion and thank you for your attentiveness!!

  9. airlineroute

    For Boeing 747-400COMBI, Air China, ASIANA, EVA Air operates them as well. 

    • KLM

      You are right! A few Asian airlines are indeed operating 747-400 combi aircaft as well, be it in limited numbers. Several other airlines used to have them, but either sold them or converted them to full passenger or full freighter aircraft. We apologize for the confusion and thank you for your attentiveness!!

  10. Belinda

    We love to travel to Chicago on KLM and then a lot of the time you travel on a 747 combi. The most impresive time I remeber si when there were horses in the back and we were allowed to go see them. I also remember them making a lot of noise when we started our decent into Chicago.

  11. Belinda

    We love to travel to Chicago on KLM and then a lot of the time you travel on a 747 combi. The most impresive time I remeber si when there were horses in the back and we were allowed to go see them. I also remember them making a lot of noise when we started our decent into Chicago.

  12. Richard Main

    I once travelled back to Amsterdam from Dubai & in the back was the horse that had won the worlds richest race a couple if days before which we had attended – we didn’t get to see him during the flight but we watched him being unloaded at Amsterdam – very exciting thanks KLM

  13. Richard Main

    I once travelled back to Amsterdam from Dubai & in the back was the horse that had won the worlds richest race a couple if days before which we had attended – we didn’t get to see him during the flight but we watched him being unloaded at Amsterdam – very exciting thanks KLM

  14. Ron

    Lufthansa no longer has 747-400 Combi

  15. Ron

    Lufthansa no longer has 747-400 Combi

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