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Iconic planes are disappearing from the sky earlier than planned as coronavirus wreaks airline havoc not seen since 9/11

American Airlines' Boeing 757-200

American Airlines' Boeing 757-200

American Airlines confirmed to Business Insider that it will speed up the retirement of its Boeing 757-200 narrow-body aircraft to shortly after the 2021 summer season. In American's fleet are 34 Boeing 757s with the oldest being nearly 27 years old, according to planespotters.net.

The aircraft has played a vital role in American Airlines' route network both on domestic and international routes. In addition to the numerous domestic routes on which it is deployed, the aircraft operated transatlantic services from American's New York hub to cities such as Edinburgh, Scotland and South American services from its Miami hub including to cities below the equator.

The Boeing 757 will be replaced by its Airbus competitor, the A321.

The A321, with a similar capacity and range to the 757, currently operates American's flagship transcontinental services between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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American Airlines' Boeing 767-300ER

American Airlines' Boeing 767-300ER

American Airlines will also be speeding up the retirement of its aging Boeing 767-300ER wide-body aircraft. With only 16 left in its fleet, according to planespotters.net, the Boeing 767 will be retired by the end of May 2020.

Newer wide-body aircraft in American's fleet including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will take the place of the 767, offering similar capacity, greater range and efficiency, and a slew of modern passenger-friendly features. In addition to select domestic routes, American's 767s can be seen flying routes to Europe and South America from the airline's hubs east of the Mississippi River.

American retired its Boeing 767-200s in mid-2014, using them for transcontinental service between New York and the California cities of New York and Los Angeles. The larger 767-300ER variant has been used by the airline to start transatlantic flights to cities such as Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines' Boeing 747-400

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines' Boeing 747-400

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be advancing the retirement of its Boeing 747-400 fleet to the end of March, according to De Telegraaf. Plans for the Dutch flag carrier to say goodbye to the aircraft initially called for a January 2021 retirement date but the reduction in demand from the spread of COVID-19 made it possible for an early finish date.

With only seven of the type left in its fleet, according to planespotters.net, the aircraft will give way to the more efficient twin-engine aircraft comprising KLM's fleet including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 777 aircraft. The newest arrival in the airline's fleet is the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, replacing the 747 on key routes including Amsterdam-New York.

KLM operated two types of the Boeing 747, the 747-400 and 747-400M. The former is a standard Boeing 747 in an all-passenger configuration while the latter was a mixed-use passenger and cargo aircraft, referred to as the "747 Combi."

The Boeing 747-400 is being retired from fleets across the globe, with Qantas aiming to retire its Boeing 747s within the year and British Airways within the next few years. US airlines Delta and United both retired their Boeing 747 fleets in the past three years.

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Virgin Atlantic Airways' Airbus A340-600

Virgin Atlantic Airways' Airbus A340-600

Virgin Atlantic moved forward the retirement of its Airbus A340-600 fleet, originally scheduled for May. The quad-engine aircraft was planned to be retired by the airline last year until issues with the airline's Boeing 787 Dreamliner and its Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines forced Virgin to hold off on retirement and even resurrect some previously-grounded aircraft.

Retiring the last of its A340 fleet earlier this week, the airline said goodbye to one of its most iconic aircraft that is continuing to disappear from the world's skies. In Europe, only Lufthansa and Iberia remain as the last two major operators of the aircraft.

Virgin's fleet renewal began with the arrival of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, continuing it with the purchase of the Airbus A350-1000 XWB and A330-900neo.

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Delta Air Lines' McDonnell Douglas MD-88/MD-90

Delta Air Lines' McDonnell Douglas MD-88/MD-90

Delta's CFO Paul Jacobson announced the possibility of his airline retiring older airframes including the McDonnell Douglas MD-88 and MD-99, according to The Points Guy, as COVID-19 continues to reduce demand. The iconic T-tailed aircraft has largely been retired by US airlines such as Allegiant Air and most notably, American Airlines, in recent years, leaving Delta as the only airline to operate it.

The near-identical MD-88 and MD-90 primarily operate on domestic routes from Delta's Atlanta hub with not much international usage outside of North America. The aircraft features a unique 3-2 configuration not commonly found on modern airliners.

The aircraft are scheduled to be replaced by Delta's Airbus A320 family fleet as well as the incoming Airbus A220-300.

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Lufthansa, Korean Air, and Qantas Airbus A380

Lufthansa, Korean Air, and Qantas Airbus A380

The Airbus A380 may be the largest casualty of the coronavirus-lead airline industry downturn as numerous airlines have grounded Airbus A380s to account for reduced demand for travel. Lufthansa was the first to announce it would be grounding its Airbus A380s, according to Aero Telegraph, used primarily for intercontinental routes to North America and Asia, due to the reduction in demand.

Korean Air followed suit earlier this week, grounding its entire Airbus A380 fleet, Forbes reported. Last month, it was reported that a Korean Air flight attendant with COVID-19 may have worked flights on the 400-seat aircraft between Seoul and Los Angeles.

Qantas elected to ground most of its Airbus A380 fleet. Out of 14 aircraft, 10 have been grounded while two are undergoing maintenance checks, the airline reported, leaving only two in operation on the Sydney-Los Angeles and Sydney-Singapore-London route.

Airlines have been opting not to continue with the Airbus A380 as the bulky plane has been overtaken by twin-engine aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 XWB.

Airbus is ceasing production on the aircraft in the next year.

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COVID-19IndiaCases: 793kDeaths: 21.6kRecovered: 495k
COVID-19WorldCases: 11.87MDeaths: 545kRecovered: 6.71M
COVID-19USACases: 2.97MDeaths: 130kRecovered: 969k