Going 747! British Airways retires its final two Jumbo Jets
2nd December 2020

Going 747! British Airways donates its final Jumbo Jets to museums after the Queen of the Skies flies into retirement

  • British Airways retired its fleet of 31 Boeing 747-400s as a result of Covid-19 
  • The airline had planned to keep the iconic jets in the air for at least three years
  • However, the collapse in demand forced the airline to ground their 747 fleet 
  • Several of the massive jets in historic liveries will be preserved in museums  

British Airways is retiring its final Boeing 747 jumbo jets and sending the iconic aircraft to museums to be preserved. 

The aircraft, which are currently being stored at the BA engineering base in Cardiff will be sent to Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey – home of the BBC Top Gear test track – and to the Bro Tathan business park in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

The airline was forced to retire its fleet of 31 Boeing 747-400 aircraft as a result in the collapse in demand for international air travel caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This Boeing 747-400, painted in the historic Landor livery used by British Airways between 1984 and 1997 is being sent to Dunsfold aerodrome in Surrey

The 27-year-old aircraft, pictured, was initially due to continue in the air until around 2024

The iconic jet was originally due to continue in the air until 2024. It is being replaced by more cost-effective and modern two-engine jets which burn less fuel.  

Several of the aircraft which were painted in historic liveries have been sent to museums so aviation enthusiasts can visit the massive aircraft. 

 The final two aircraft G-BNLY and G-BYGC will depart Cardiff. The first aircraft is painted in the Landor livery used by the airline between 1984 and 1997. 

G-BYGC is painted in the BOAC ‘Gold Speedbird’ livery used between 1963 and 1974.   

Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said: ‘While we will miss seeing them grace our skies, we are delighted to have found permanent homes for our remaining centenary 747 aircraft.

‘We think they have great historical importance, not only to British Airways but to the entire aviation industry, and we are pleased they will be preserved for future generations in locations in the UK.

This British Airways 747-400 was painted in the BOAC ‘Gold Speedbird’ livery used between 1963 and 1974

This aircraft will be going on display at the Bro Tathan business park in the Vale of Glamorgan

Boeing 747-400 

Passenger capacity 345 

Length:  231 feet 10 inches

Wingspan:  211 feet 5 inches

Height:  68 feet 8 inches

Engines 4× Rolls Royce RB211-524H

Maximum speed: 614mph,:

Range: 8,357 miles

‘As the final 747s to leave our fleet, their departure will be an emotional moment for former and current British Airways staff, including our engineering team in Cardiff who have lovingly looked after our jumbo jets for decades.’

The airline brought forward the retirement date for the iconic aircraft because of the global pandemic. 

A sister aircraft, G-CIVB was one of the last two 747s to leave Heathrow Airport in October and is now a permanent resident at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire. 

British Airways was the largest operator of the B-747 400 until the decision was made to ground the fleet. 

In total, more than 3.5 billion people have travelled on the Boeing 747.  

The Cotswold 747 will be used as a visitor attraction, conference venue and educational facility when it goes on display at Cotswold Airport near Kemble in Gloucestershire from spring 2021.

It will not be airworthy but its inflight entertainment system will be available for use during business presentations.

The airport is asking for ex-747 pilots and crew to volunteer to maintain the plane.

After entering the British Airways fleet in February 1994, the G-CIVB model flew nearly 60 million miles. 

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