For some, this day is unwelcome, as British Airways start formally withdrawing and retiring its Boeing 747-400 fleet.
The beginning of the end – British Airways Boeing 747-400 at London Heathrow – Image, Economy Class and Beyond
The first to depart will be G-CIVD, which will depart the British Airways fleet on Tuesday.
Originally, the Boeing 747-400 fleet was due to be withdrawn by 2024 – however, COVID-19 has taken its toll on many fleets worldwide – British Airways included, who pulled commercial operations with their fleet on 17th June.
With the fleet now to be withdrawn and retired, its time for them to leave their home of London Heathrow Airport (amongst other storage areas).
The first – G-CIVD will depart from London Heathrow on Tuesday, 18 August at 9 am local time under flight number BA9170E, completing 25 years of service. The last commercial flight it flew was on the 18th April – where it returned from Lagos as part of the UK repatriation efforts. It was configured as a Mid-J aircraft, with 14 FIRST seats, 52 Club World Seats, 36 World Traveller Plus and 243 World Traveller seats.
And it’s done some serious mileage in its 25 years of service, with the airline reporting it has flown 115,276.8 hours, 13,364 flights and over 50 million miles
Al Bridger, British Airways’ Director of Flight Operations, said:
“All of us at British Airways and so many of our customers will have fond memories and special moments from our travels on the iconic jumbo jet.
“As a pilot who was lucky enough to fly the aircraft, the sheer scale of it was unforgettable, you literally looked down on other aircraft. It changed aviation forever when it arrived in the skies and I know I speak for our customers and the global aviation community when I say, despite rightly moving to more sustainable ways of flying, we will still miss the 747 dearly.”
Closing the 747 Chapter
British Airways has flown variants of the Boeing 747 since its formation in 1974 (with forerunner BOAC taking the delivery of them in 1969). Since then it has operated the Boeing 747-100, 747-200 and 747-400 – at one point operating 57 Boeing 747-400 aircraft in its long haul fleet.
However, the rise of efficient twin-engined aircraft that can operate the long sectors have certainly pushed British Airways away (leaving the Airbus A380 as the last four-engined aircraft in the BA fleet). The rest of the long haul fleet is handled with the Boeing 777-200ER, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350-1000.
With the 747 story slowly coming to an end, the first of 31 aircraft to be retired marks an important point in the airline’s history.
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