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KLM’s 97-year association with Dutch manufacturer Fokker came to an end when it retired its last F70 in October. The Dutch ai airline ensured it went out in style, as Richard Schuurman reports.

W ithin eight minutes they had all gone. First PH-KZU, then ‘KZB and, after a brief pause, ‘KZL and ‘KZS. The last four KLM Cityhopper Fokker 70s took off like rockets on their farewell flights from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on October 29.

It ended an era in Dutch aviation, concluding a relationship between KLM and Fokker stretching back 97 years, despite a hiatus between 1940 and 1966.

The only one to return was ‘KZU, proudly adorned with Anthony Fokker’s portrait on its tailfin. Gear down, speed brakes open, it flew as slowly as possible over KLM Cityhopper’s office at just 820ft (250m) for one final farewell, before joining the other three already en route to KLM UK Engineering in Norwich.

Observers could sense the emotion of the moment. The Fokkers’ departure from the KLM Cityhopper fleet has garnered newspaper coverage, television reports and even a book. The sombre mood was reminiscent of the time Fokker went bankrupt in March 1996, ending the Netherlands’ proud tradition of aircraft manufacturing. Now some of the final aircraft to leave the company’s production line were being disposed of by the country’s national airline.

Former Cityhopper MD Boet Kreiken congratulates his successor Warner Rootliep.

KLM’s 97-year association with Fokker came to an end in October when it retired its F70s. RICHARD SCHUURMAN

Schiphol Airport provided a vehicle escort for PH-KZU on its last scheduled departure and arrival. KLM/ ANDRES BOLKENBAAS

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About Airliner World

In the January issue of Airliner World, we bid farewell to KLM’s Fokkers, ending a 97-year association between the Dutch flag carrier and the manufacturer, we examine how a partial privatisation could offer Pakistan International Airlines renewed hope for its future, and we go behind the scenes with launch customer Qatar Airways as it prepares to take delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000. Elsewhere in this edition, we find out Hebridean Air Services has forged a unique and highly valued link with the remote island communities it serves, we find out how Leipzig/Halle has transformed from sleepy backwater to major European cargo hub, and we hear how AeroLink Uganda is playing a quirky but important role in connecting its home market. We also shine the spotlight on Singapore Airlines’ new A380 cabin, and we bring you a selection of photos from NBAA 2017 and from Orly, Paris’ second airport. Lastly, we bring you our comprehensive coverage of worldwide news, including a full round-up from the Dubai Airshow, plus Embraer eyes an April debut for the E-Jet E2, ATR wins a major order from FedEx, Emirates takes delivery of its 100th Airbus A380, and Boeing delivers the first 737 MAX to China. We also have all our regular sections covering the latest commercial aircraft acquisitions, up-to-date accident reports and developments from the world of aviation training and MROs.

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