Of the 154 Boeing 747s registered in flight, only 4 were passengers

Image: Brian from Toronto, Canada / CC BY-SA (

A recent Flightradar24 publication drew attention to a sad fact related to one of the most popular aircraft among aviation enthusiasts and travelers worldwide, but which also reflects the serious crisis in civil aviation: an insignificant number of Boeing 747 aircraft with passengers today.

The New Zealand newspaper NZHerald reported in a report on the Flightradar24 Post, from which it emerged that on October 12 at 12 noon the 154 B747 carried only four passengers in flight. The rest was cargo (including passenger planes that could take packages instead of people).

Note that the screenshot was taken at a specific time of day and the number of Model 747 aircraft may vary within 24 hours. The most important thing is to understand that the proportion of passenger jumbo jets flying today is negligible and there is a tendency to see fewer and fewer of them in the sky.

The shift from passenger quads to more modern twin-engine airplanes has already been a trend accelerated by the pandemic. The airlines, predicting that demand will not recover anytime soon, decided to anticipate years of planning and remove the less efficient and more expensive aircraft to the detriment of the newer and more economical ones.

The new coronavirus pandemic caused one of the greatest crises in world aviation history. According to the latest data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the demand for air travel fell by 75.3% in August compared to the same month last year 2019. Many companies have used cargo handling as a lifeline for at least part of their turnover.

According to a report by North American financial newspaper Wall Street Journal of the 30 largest airlines in the world, only four are expected to make a profit in 2020, all of which will be supported by freight. These are Korean Air Lines, Asiana Airlines, China Airlines and EVA Airways, all Asian companies that have invested in the transportation of electronic goods. Another company in better shape but uncertain financial statements is Ethiopian Airlines, which posted a profit in the second quarter, the most acute phase of Covid.

More than 40 airlines have already ceased operations in 2020, and many others have reduced their services and laid off staff or are planning to do so in the coming months.

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