What next for Lufthansa’s Starliner?

Classic Lockheed propliner moved to storage in Hamburg — but where will it end up on display?

On 19 October, Lockheed L-1649A Starliner N7316C arrived at the Lufthansa maintenance facility at Hamburg Airport. The airliner had been under restoration to fly at Auburn-Lewiston Airport in Maine from 2007 until March 2018, when Lufthansa pulled the plug on what was proving to be a highly expensive project, the original intention being to operate the machine on commercial pleasure flights. The Starliner was then shipped to Bremen, moving to Paderborn in February 2021.

Four L-1649As, named the Super Star in Lufthansa service, operated with the German flag carrier between 1958 and ’66. Initially they were used on non-stop scheduled trans-Atlantic routes from New York-Frankfurt and New York-Düsseldorf, and latterly as freighters.

N7316C was originally delivered to Trans World Airlines in 1957, and following conversion to freighter configuration by Lockheed Air Service during 1960 it was flown by several operators in Alaska up until 1972. It was saved from destruction at Stewart Airport in New York by Maurice Roundy during 1983 and, after six months of work, made its last flight to Auburn-Lewiston Airport on 9 November 1983. The Starliner was purchased by Lufthansa during 2006.

The airliner will be reassembled and completed for static display by Lufthansa technicians, apprentices and retirees before becoming one of the star exhibits at the carrier’s centenary celebrations during 2026, although its final resting place has not yet been decided upon.

Lockheed L-1649A Starliner N7316C is gingerly moved into a hangar at Hamburg Airport’s Lufthansa maintenance facility on 19 October.
Lockheed L-1649A Starliner N7316C is gingerly moved into a hangar at Hamburg Airport’s Lufthansa maintenance facility on 19 October. LUFTHANSA