This month, British Airways are expected to retire one of the oldest aircraft in its fleet - the Boeing 767-300 with the final flight due to happen on the 25th of November on the flight back from Larnaca to Heathrow (BA663).
British Airways ordered 28 aircraft in total, with first order dating back to the 1980s. The first aircraft entered service in 1989 and operated routes to high-density short-haul destinations like to Paris CDG. Later on next year, British Airways received more B767s and converted some to a long-haul configuration to replace routes previously operated by the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar like Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Riyadh.
However, the 767 was not loved by British Airways all along. The 767s were the last to be fitted with British Airways’ Club World cabin, released in 2000 and were never fitted with British Airways’ updated (famous backwards Club World seating) cabin released in late 2006. In addition, the short-haul version of the B767 was never fitted to the updated Club Europe cabin, released in 2014 and all aircraft except for the 767 were fitted in it by 2015.
I fly on the BA662/BA663 route very often, sometimes more than 3 times a month. In the past couple of months, I’ve noticed an “increased hatred” towards the 767 compared to other aircraft in BA’s fleet, mainly due to the lack of maintenace and care they get.
After my summer commitment in Scotland, I was scheduled to fly back to Cyprus from Heathrow on August 15, however the trip took a turn for the worse.
As we boarded the plane, we were told that there was a technical malfunction preventing us from flying to Cyprus - there was a hole in a window in the cockpit which let rainwater into the cockpit. The pilot cracked a joke, saying that we could still fly, but that it would be quite windy and cold in the aircraft. Some passengers were shook and possibly didn’t understand the pilot’s humour causing a lot of questions to be asked to the cabin crew. We were told that the issue wasn’t going to be solved for a while and that due to pilots’ work hours, the crew had to be switched. We were deplaned and taken to Terminal 5 and given 10 pound vouchers to spend on whatever we liked.
After a 3 hour delay, we were returned to the aircraft and we were hoping to get underway. But, no so fast as the new pilots found a yet another issue with the aircraft’s navigation system. This delayed us yet another 2 and a half hours, and they didn’t deplane us this time, just offered water and no snacks. Some passengers decided not to fly, as they were concerned for their safety. After the incident, I decided to claim my compensation and received 400 pounds as a result.
Just recently, I flew on the British Airways 767 for the final time. On the 3rd of November, I flew on BA663 from Larnaca to London. My next flight is booked early December, therefore I will be flying on the A320 and not the 767 next time I fly with BA to Cyprus. The flight 767 had the registration G-BZHA, which is one of the 2 767 British Airways currently has. This will be the final aircraft to leave BA’s fleet on its final flight to Larnaca on the 25 of November. The aircraft was in a horrid state, with the IFE not working and a few of the overhead bins broken, with a sign written on paper saying “DO NOT USE”).
The 767s have served an important part to BA, but unfortunately, their time has come to an end. Personally, I’ll miss flying the 767 on my flights to Larnaca. They are much more spacious than the A320 or the A321 that BA plans to place on flights to Larnaca (unlike the initial plan to send the 777-200ER) and have some “umph” to them that the Airbus A320 family simply doesn’t have.
Long live the 767.
(A British Airways Boeing 767-300ER (G-BZHA) landing in Edinburgh. Credit to Dennis Penny)