Cotswold Airport - Where aircraft go to die - 26/12/20

An ode to the legendary BA 747

EGBP, Cotswold Airport, formerly known as RAF Kemble, and currently the final resting location for 7 (that I was able to see) of the British Airways Boeing 747-400s, including the special retro Negus Livery. At this current point, the Negus aircraft is the only one that seems to be fully intact: Unfortunately with the airport being closed, I was unable to get close to it and see.

Airport background info

It is near the village of Kemble in Gloucester, southwest of Cirencester. It originated as an RAF station, concentrated in training and maintenance. As of September 2009, the base was renamed to Cotswold Airport under new ownership. Nowadays, as well as being a private airfield, the airport is used as a storage location for aircraft before they are broken down and recycled.

With Christmas with the family basically cancelled, I spent a few days away in a small market town called Stow on the Wold, and the route home led us past the airport. The weather was unforgiving, but it was fully worth it.

So let us begin

Starting off around the back of the airport, we have G-GDFE, a retired Jet 2 Boeing 737-300. She has been here for a while, the engines and nose fully removed, the wings mostly deconstructed… In the background, a few aircraft belonging to Turkmenistan airlines, and the white tail belonging to a KLM B747, which I was unable to get a clear shot of.

Next up, we have VP-CWS, an Airbus A320-200. I am unsure of the current situation with this aircraft. I believe it is owned by Qatar, but as to whether it is still in service or decommissioned I am unsure

Next we have a Bristol Type 175 Britannia, registration unknown. I believe this aircraft is being preserved, but again I am unsure. This one was tricky to get to, had to hop over a fence or two to get closer to it.

And now we move onto the 747s. Starting off with the faithful old Negus. Sadly again, access was highly limited (not helped by severe flooding) and I couldn’t get a clear full shot of the beautiful aircraft. G-CIVB being the only BA 747 still intact and preserved

Up next we have the heavily ruined engine of MK Airlines B747F, G-MKGA. Originally a Cargolux aircraft, up until recently she was used as an event venue. She’s been on sight since 2009 and is one of the most complete aircraft still at the airport, but incredibly weathered.

Next we have OY-JTT, a Boeing 737-700 of the now bankrupt (covid) Jet Time airlines of Denmark. Recently retired, she is still in excellent condition with her engines removed. I would have liked to see her fly for a while more, being under 20 years old.

In this instance G-CIVN, a Boeing 747-400 of British Airways. I took a few close up shots of the remaining 747s that were still in a decent condition. In this first image, we have the front landing gear fully extended

Up next, a close up of the front right wing, specifically the engine pylon. Here you can see all of the fuel lines and mounting points exposed, a few covered with plastic bags to prevent fuel spilling onto the concrete below

This image belongs to G-CIVJ, the first being a shot of the Rolls Royce RB211-524G, and one of the only 747s to still have an engine attached. In this case, the aircraft only had 1, and the weight showed with the airframe leaning to the side slightly. An indigo and TAP aircraft are just visible in the background.

The final for the topic is a close up of the cockpit of G-CIVN again. The fence gets a little in the way here, unfortunately it was taller than I was able to reach

A final hurrah for the beautiful 747, and also for my old camera as it is no longer my primary “spotting” device having just purchased a 550D. None of the shots are edited, and the camera in question is 12 years old so excuse the quality. The pictures are kinda trash, but if you want to use them for anything, feel free to message me and I’ll send them to you in full original quality.

A short video driving past some of the aircraft

Thanks to you all for reading. 2020 has been pretty rubbish in lots of ways, and the 747 has suffered just as much as us. Maybe next year will be better for aviation.

Happy new year all - Dan


Dang, you took so many photos of gravestones. Isn’t that disrespectful?

sad to see all these once flying aircraft be sitting here with a tarp over the engine never to fly again 😔


Just sad to know these classic beauties will never get to touch the sky again

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Very moving pictures, but fitting as we say goodbye to what has been an absolute horrendous year for aviation. Thanks for sharing these impressions!

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