Three KLM MD-11's at Schiphol.

Three KLM MD-11's at Schiphol.

In March of this year, KLM started service between Amsterdam (AMS) and Miami (MIA) using one of their MD-11 aircraft. Unfortunately, the route is not working out for the airline and in March 2012, the plug will be pulled.

“We will stop the route AMS-MIA per summer 2012 (as of March 25 2012),” KLM spokesperson explained to “With the start of a fourth daily frequency Atlanta-Amsterdam, we have a good indirect alternative within the Joint Venture with Delta.”

It is always sad to see a classic tri-holer pull out of a market. Sure, for an average passenger, I would imagine they would rather fly on one of KLM’s newer A330s, but for us aviation enthusiasts, the MD-11 is the classic bird of choice.

KLM is still operating 10 of the MD-11s in commercial service and seven in their cargo fleet (as of March 2011). They are the only airline in the world still running the MD-11 on scheduled passenger service.

When asked if there were any solid plans on replacing the MD-11, the airline stated, “KLM is continuously monitoring her fleet development, and at this moment KLM has no exact dates as yet to retire the MD-11.”

KLM still regularly flies the MD-11 to San Fransisco and Vancouver, so enjoy spotting them in North America while they are still around. With fuel prices continuing to rise, it is unclear how much longer we will be seeing the blue MD-11s.

Image: Chris 1971

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
Santa Claus Makes Seattle Stop in Private Plane –
Manuel Vieira-Ribeiro

KLM is using the A330 to YVR this winter

KLM still uses an MD-11 to SFO during winter – thats the reason I don’t fly them in the winter. MD-11’s have a nasty (occasional) habit of crashing … The 747-400 they run in the summer is way better …

I don’t recall a MD-11 crashing or having a major incident. There was the infamous American DC-10 crash at O’Hare in the 1980’s but that was due to improper maintenance. (Per Seconds from Disaster.)

There have been a few things, mostly with cargo flights though.

I think the biggest and more memorable was Swiss Air Flight 111.

But overall, the MD-11 has been a pretty solid airframe.

David says it all – it you look around youtube there’s some nasty videos of cargo versions flipping over on landing etc. etc. fly cargo in them fine – people no thanks though ..

For your info i am a captain from World Airways. I have flow all the Tri Jets that have ever hit the skies. They are alot more reliable then the 747’s. Did fly the L-1011, MD-11 today, and did fly the DC-10. Trust me, MD-11 is the way to go over the 747. I dope not and dont think the MD-11 will be retired any time soon. Probably another 5 more years at the very least.


Well that 5 years thing, that did not work out sadly. maybe there are some converted freighters left where we eventually can make a pax version from. but she is gone.


There are many speculations at the moment within KLM about the MD11.
Latest rumour : Seen the economic downturn in Europe the MD-11 will leave the KLM fleet in 2015 .
Expectation is that the PH-KCH and -KCI will be scrapped for spare parts next year. The MD-11 will leave earlier than anticipated, but at the moment there are NO definite plans.
However it seems to be decided that the KCH and KCI don’t receive their upcoming D-check anymore. The scheduled visit of KCH to Xiamen or ST Aero. Texas has been cancelled and KCH receives a C+ check at hangar 12 at SPL.

I would guess that MD-11s will stop flying commercial service before 2015. I am surprised that KLM is still flying them today. Not only are they not-fuel efficient, but they also offer a dated product.


It looks like the MD11 will be flown to ATL. To verify what I thought I saw a couple weeks ago when looking for flights, I just did a quick search on Delta for dates in mid-May from ATL to AMS. KL622 (DL9375), 1040-1305+1, is on the MD11.


I flew KLM MD-11 Vancouver to Amsterdam return back In April/May this year, I never even thought about It crashing, more chance of being killed In my car driving to work,No complaints about KLM or the flight, they even let me get a photo of the flightdeck once we landed.

Service to Miami is only seasonally suspended. Resumes October 28, and increased to five weekly flights. Also, stays an MD11, was previously supposed to switch to 332.

Leave a Reply

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