British Airways Bids Farewell to First of its Last 747 Jumbo Jets

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British Airways Boeing 747
British Airways Boeing 747 Photo: Stuart Bailey / British Airways

British Airways has announced that it will retire its first Boeing 747 on August 18 after announcing last month that all 31 of its jumbo jets were phased out .

The Boeing 747-400, registration G-CIVD, will depart from London Heathrow Airport on Tuesday, 18 August at 09:00 a.m. local time under flight number BA9170E after more than 25 years of service.

British Airways had to retire its 747 fleet at an accelerated rate as a result of the devastating impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector. British Airways does not predict the aviation industry to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.

“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,” said Al Bridger, British Airways’ Director of Flight Operations.

“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.”

British Airways Boeing 747
British Airways Boeing 747-400 Photo: Stuart Bailey / British Airways

British Airways 747 – G-CIVD Fact File

Date it entered service14 December 1994
Retirement date19 August 2020
Popular / recent routesLast flight was to Lagos, part of the repatriation effort, on 18 April 2020
Liveries wornLandor – ‘City of Coventry’Current: Union Flag / Chatham Dockyard with oneworld logo
Seating configurationFirst: 14Club: 52World Traveller Plus: 36World Traveller: 243
Facts and stats (approximate)Top speed: 565mphTake off speed: 180mphLength: 70.6m, Height: 19.41m, Wingspan: 64.4mWeight: 184 tonnes, maximum take-off weight 378 tonnes4 x Rolls-Royce RB211-524 enginesFlown 115,276.8 hours, 13,364 flights and over 50 million miles
Source: British Airways
The BOAC-liveried Boeing 747, reg: G-BYGC, arrived back at Heathrow from the paint factory in February 2018 and entered the airline’s flying schedule, heading first to New York.

The 747 has been an iconic part of British Airways’ fleet for nearly fifty years. At one point the airline operated 57 of the aircraft, with the jumbo jet’s first flight to New York in 1971.

The fuel-hungry aircraft were slowly being phased out by British Airways as they reached the end of their working life in order to help meet the company’s commitment to net zero by 2050. The airline has invested heavily in new, modern long-haul aircraft including six A350s and 32 787s which are around 25 per cent more fuel-efficient than the 747.

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