British Airways Interested In The Boeing 777X Amid 747 Retirement

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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.

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.

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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.

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

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