It has been one year since London Heathrow said goodbye to British Airways 747s, an iconic aircraft part of much of British Airways ‘Golden Era’.
The aircraft in question was G-CIVY delivered to British airways in September 1998. This was the 51st Boeing 747-400 to join the British airways fleet and the last to leave Heathrow.
Over 50 years ago, British Airways’ story with the Boeing 747 began, soon becoming one of the most iconic aircraft to enter the BA fleet.
British Airways (formerly BOAC) took delivery of their first Boeing 747-100. They went on to have 19 in their fleet.
Image by: Iain Mackenzie
A few years after the merger of BOAC and BEA, British Airways took delivery of their first 747-200 variant. There is one being preserved at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, England. G-BDXJ seen below
Image by A J Best
First 747-400 delivered. The 747-400 is probably the variant you first think of when BA 747s are mentioned, (and for the right reason too!). British airways went on to take delivery of 57 over the next decade.
Image by: Paul Bishop
The final 747-400 joined BAs fleet and served 21 years for the airline.
2020 - COVID-19 Pandemic
The Coronavirus lead to the early retirement of all of BAs remaining 747-400s. The original plan was to phase them out by 2024, but the detrimental impact the pandemic had on the industry prevented this. The last passenger flight was from San Francisco to Heathrow in April that year.
image via Google
On the 8th October, G-CIVB, painted in the BA100 Negus livery, departed Heathrow for the final time, followed by G-CIVY making it the last ever British Airways 747 to depart Heathrow. This went against a previously planned parallel take-off but due to adverse weather and ATC reasons, it was called off.
Image by Flightradar24 via twitter
Both aircraft landed safely at their destinations. St. Athan for G-CIVY and Kemble for G-CVIB.
The final flight of a British Airways 747 took place on the 11th December. G-BYGC touched down St. Athan Airport (EGSY) after a short flight from Cardiff (EGFF). It is currently being preserved and wears the BOAC livery which was applied in 2019 as part of a series of BA aircraft to receive ‘Heritage liveries’ for the centenary celebrations.
The 101 Boeing 747s that BA operated over the five decades changed the airline forever. An iconic part of not just BA, but aviation globally. Lets remember though, like Concorde, these iconic jets can never be properly replaced, no aircraft will better the history that the 747 did for BA.
Image by: PRM
With the retirement of the 747s, BA now look to more fuel efficient aircraft, investing in new projects such as ‘BA Better World’. In addition, British Airways announced this week that their Airbus A380s were returning to the skies in November.
- x8 Airbus A320neo
- x3 Airbus A321neo
- x10 Airbus A350-1000
- x18 Boeing 777-9
- x10 Boeing 787-10
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!