British Airways Interested In The Boeing 777X Amid 747 Retirement

Reports suggest that British Airways could be interested in purchasing B777x aircraft. The news, first reported by Airlinegeeks.com comes as the airline is in the process of retiring the B747 aircraft in its fleet. These are currently set to be replaced by new B787 and A350 aircraft set to join the fleet, in addition to British Airways B777 aircraft.

This year British Airways celebrates its centenary. It is repainting a number of aircraft due to leave service soon in retro liveries. This includes a number of B747s. The B747 is set to be completely retired from the British Airways fleet over the next 5 years.

British Airways B777
British Airways is set to retire all its B747s over the next 5 years. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

B747 Retirement

The retirement of the B747 was announced in late January. British Airways currently has a fleet of 34 Boeing 747s. Of these, 21 have recently been renovated. The 13 unrenovated B747s will be retired from the British Airways fleet first, a process that should be completed in November 2022.

Following this, British Airways will begin to retire the B747s which have been renovated. This includes G-BYGC which was recently repainted in a retro BOAC livery. The retirement of these aircraft will happen at a quicker pace than the first 13 aircraft, being completed in 2024.

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British Airways B777
British Airways already has a number of B777 aircraft. Photo: Nick Morrish/British Airways

Aircraft Replacements

British Airways has ordered 34 aircraft to replace the 34 B747s due to be retired. Firstly, British Airways has ordered 18 Airbus A350-1000. These aircraft are due to commence delivery in July of this year, and are hotly anticipated by passengers and avgeeks alike. While most details of the A350 are being kept under close wraps, we do know that British Airways will not be installing the first-class cabin on the aircraft.

Boeing replacements are also expected for the B747s. British Airways has placed an order for 12 B787-10 aircraft. A date has yet to be given as to when the new Dreamliners will join the fleet, however, the airline also operates the B787-8 and B787-9.

This does, however, leave a gap of four aircraft. BA is expecting to fill this outstanding gap with new B777-300 aircraft previously ordered. While this replaces the B747s being replaced, it leaves no room for long-haul growth. This is where the B777X comes into the story.

British Airways B777
British Airways has 34 B747 aircraft in its fleet at present. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

B777X Orders?

According to Airline Geeks, British Airways executives recently toured the B777X assembly line. The line is currently starting to take shape as the first B777X aircraft are being constructed, including one destined for Lufthansa.

The B777X could be the perfect replacement airline for British Airways. The B747s have 337 seats across their four cabin layout. However, British Airways is moving to a three-class cabin with its new A350-1000. In a three cabin layout, a B777-9 could carry 12 passengers more than the B747 (349 total). Additionally, with two engines, the B777X is far more fuel efficient than the B747-400s currently operated by British Airways.

Should British Airways purchase B777X aircraft? Let us know in the comments down below!

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Lara S.

If they aren’t putting in first class are they at least replacing their execrable business class seats?

Erick Palmer

Apparently all business class seats will have direct aisle access, hope its good

Andrew Boydston

and… they will order about 20 777X both the 777-8 and 9X

Luke Vader

BA 777X’s would be great, but what about [acquiring] cheap, second-hand A380s?

Mark Mc

Im not sure replacing a used four engine plane with another used four engine plane would enhance fuel efficiency and lower operating costs.

John

We are talking about LHR without any available spot for take off and landing ! LHR is one of the airport where the A380 make most sense ! Just consider the 6 flights from Dubai to London with the A380…. Here it’s an example where the economic should take into account the capital cost for a landing / take off slot at LHR! In 2016, Oman Air bought a slot for 75 million ! This is a huge cost. Of course, it’s an “asset”… But it’s cash flow intensive… So flying an A380 instead of another aircraft can allow major… Read more »

COlin Yapp

I think the point of the replacements is for efficiency and going to A380’s vs the 777x would be a backwards move, in terms of efficiency.

STEVEN PAPPAS

Why buy an aircraft that’s being discontinued? Why buy an aircraft that’s limited on routes and airports it can serve? Why buy an aircraft that has no resale value and why buy an aircraft that burns more fuel than the largest Twin widebody? 777X should be a slam dunk.

David Hoffman 5

Used A380s would not offer the operational saving BA seeks. BA seeks an all twin engine fleet in the future with common crew training from 4 across single aisle all the way up to 12 across twin aisle.

John

BA wants A380 but at the right cost.
And the right cost means acquisition costs compensating and the operating costs being equivalent to a twin engine….
BUT you need to consider the problem of LHR which is the available slots for landing and take off and their huge costs today.
The A380 allows to reduce the number of slots needed for very high demand destinations.
Instead of adding one flight to New York when the passenger volume increases, it is possible to replace one of the plane with the A380.

Parker West

Whoa Nellie, you’re Going to have to pry your cold dead fingers off the 380 nose gears and accept the reality that this aircraft is done. BA isn’t going to snap up bargains on unwanted 380’s Singapore Airlines doesn’t want. The fuel costs VS the 777X are very likely to be significant as well as the savings on maintenance expenses. Qantas mechanics believe it takes a disproportionate amount of time to keep the 380 in fohjyinh shape. One union official stated that the 380 “is all plastic, everything has to be tightened up it takes a lot more time to… Read more »

John

At the right cost, they will take additional A380… And you are mentioning the Qantas view… But I would need numbers to know what we are talking about… How much time per seat is required, what is the time and the running cost of the A380 and so on… Yes, plastic might be problematic, but it saves a lot of money in fuel, this is why most of the cabins of aircraft are made of plastic whenever possible… … The fuel efficiency is really a topic for new airliners to be bought, and it is obvious that a new A380… Read more »

Parker West

The 747’s did an incredible job for BA, the airline really got their money’s worth. The 400 will likely be remembered as one of the 2 or 3 safest aircraft to have been in service. I would like to see the 777X’s fill the 747 gap, it’s been a quality long distance airframe for the airline. It would be nice to see BA replace all the 320 CEO’s to be with the former Bombardier’s C-series now 220’s. Many of the inter-European carriers have ordered the bird, those who have them in service seem more than satisfied. The flight deck, glass… Read more »

John

Indeed, the 747-400 has had an amazing safety record. … But for the Cseries, it is not an aircraft that will replace the A320. It is on the market of the A318 and A319. And in general, between the CEO and NEO variant, many airlines ordered the upper size… So this is very unlikely to me. Plus the A320 family is quite young, and replaced the B737. There is a chance for the replacement of the A319 (almost 20 years). And the other chance is the replacement of the Embraer of BA Cityflyer. Eventually, there might be an increase of… Read more »