Lufthansa's initial order was for 5 Boeing 707-430s (Rolls-Royce powered versions of the 707-320 Intercontinental). The type entered service on March 17, 1960 between Frankfurst and New York. From May 20 San Francisco began and the day after non-stop flights to Chicago. The big 707 performed well for Lufthansa but the jump in size from L-1649s to 707s was too much for many of Lufthansa's routes and the airline began to look around for an alternative.
Sadly Lufthansa lost two of its 720s. The first D-ABOK was lost after only a few months on December 4, 1961 when it crashed on a training flight at Ebersheim. The second aircraft lost was D-ABOP which was only two and a half years old. Again it was a training flight that was the occasion. The aircraft took off from Frankfurt and during the course of manoeuvres undertook a complete roll. The pilots attempted a second roll but unfortunately lost control and the aircraft broke up in mid-air. A foolish and tragic loss.
Lufthansa's traffic was growing strongly during the 1960s and the airline returned to full sized 707s in October 1961 when it ordered its first 707-330Bs. By this time the Pratt and Whitney turbofans outclassed the original series 430 Rolls-Royce engines. Eventually 18 aircraft were purchased up until October 1970. With the network growing Lufthansa needed its smaller 720s less and all the remaining 6 aircraft were sold to Pan Am from March 1964 replaced by the larger 707s.
Pan Am used the Boeing 720s (along with 3 ex-American aircraft) on its Caribbean and Bahamas routes. They also saw service on South American routes like Caracas and Sao Paulo. Pan Am sold on the aircraft in late 1972 / early 1973 with two passing to Alia Royal Jordanian, one to Ariana Afghan and three to Avianca. D-ABOR was the last aircraft delivered to Lufthansa and named ‘Dortmund’. She became N788PA ‘Clipper Nonpareil’ with Pan Am and was sold to Alia in November 1972 as JY-ADT. She passed to Sierra Leone Airways in November 1983 as 9L-LAZ. By June 1985 she was stored as part of the KC-135 spares fleet registered N720BC.
1991. Davies R.E.G. Lufthansa: An Airline and Its Aircraft
Aviation Safety Network - D-ABOP
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: