British Airway’s Retro BOAC Boeing 747 Lands In Heathrow For The First Time

After two weeks in a Dublin paint shop, the first B747 to be painted in a retro BOAC livery arrived back at Heathrow today. Simple Flying was on hand to welcome the aircraft back into service along with other invited members of the press. The aircraft operated under the flight number BA100 for the special flight to London.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of British Airways. This will be celebrated on August 25th 2019. Back in 1919, the Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited started to operate scheduled flights between London and Paris. While the original airline is no longer around, it became the starting block for a century of aviation which directly led to British Airways.

BOAC 747
BA100 comes into land at Heathrow following its flight from Dublin. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying

Retro Livery

The B747 was repainted into a retro BOAC Livery. The livery was previously applied to B747-100s owned by British Airways. A team looked through archive images of the original livery to recreate it for this aircraft. Special attention had to be taken to scale it appropriately as the hump on the B747-400 is much longer than that of its predecessor.


Where Can I See It?

The aircraft will make its maiden passenger service in its new livery tomorrow (19th February 2019). It will fly to New York, which was the first route originally travelled by a B747 in a BOAC livery. It will operate BA117 which is scheduled to depart London at 0825 local time. It is due to arrive in New York at 1130 local time.

BOAC 747
British Airways staff welcome the aircraft to London. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying

Don’t worry if you can’t see the special livery tomorrow though. British Airways has stated that the special livery will remain on the B747 until it is retired from service in 2023. It won’t just fly on the route to New York either. It will be rotated around different British Airways B747 routes to give as many people as possible the chance to see it.

After the flight to New York, the jet is reportedly scheduled to fly to Chicago on Wednesday (20th Feb) and Lagos on Thursday (21st Feb).

BOAC 747
The aircraft will stay in its retro livery until it is retired in 2023. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying

Incredibly Proud

Alex Cruz, CEO of British Airways told that he was incredibly proud of the new livery. He told the press: “The enormous interest we’ve had in this project demonstrates the attachment many people have to British Airways’ history. It’s something we are incredibly proud of, so in our centenary year, it’s a pleasure to be celebrating our past while also looking to the future. We look forward to many more exciting moments like this as our other aircraft with heritage designs enter service.”

How do you think the Queen of the Skies looks in her retro livery? Let us know in the comments down below!


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James Strange

Looks very cool! Always nice to see 747s still in passenger service.

Clarification: You meant “747-400” here?

“Special attention had to be taken to scale it appropriately as the hump on the B747-100 is much longer than that of its predecessor.”

Robert S.

Good show! Always have loved the 747 and BOAC was my first choice .

Dr Indra Arora

Some time before World War II ir was Imperial Airways flying from London to Sidney. Two propeller engine aircrafts flew only daylight hours. We used to see them landing on the floodlit runway at Jodhpur, India and then passengers alighting and taken to a nearby hotel for night’s sleep before… Read more »

Chandra Hamid

Hope to see it when/if it comes to Trinidad.
Brings back childhood memories.

Eric Troedsson
anthony stockle

This is fabulous – what a lesson and example of classy stylish British design. It puts most current livery to shame. I love the idea it will fly around the world for the remainder of its magnificent flying life. Well done BA (for a change).


Took me back in time when I flew these as a kid.
And the Airfix 747 model I made had the same livery 🙂
Such a lovely feeling when the real Jumbo in mentioned. So graceful, beautiful, nothing can come close to it …..

Richard Gillatt

Wow this looks amazing. Is there anywhere one can look to find the planned routes for her for the rest of this year. I would love to see her if she comes to South Africa.

Jai prakash javvaji

It’s very thoughtful for BA to celebrate its Centenary in a manner that recreates the livery its aircraft sported the last century…rather millenium. That’s history! For me, its a trip…… down memory lane. As for the design philosophy, the British remain unsurpassed. At any point in time, their idea is… Read more »

Kenneth Anderson

“That looks truly elegant,” refined & tasteful. One can be transported (no pun) back in time seeing this plane, hearkening to days less perilous & cluttered. To me it would’ve been nice for BA to rework their name into that font & repaint their fleet thus; the difference is strikingly… Read more »