BA Begins A350 Operations To Accra After Boeing 747 Retirement

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British Airways today began operating the Airbus A350-1000 on its route from London to Accra. The capital city of Ghana was previously served by a Boeing 747. However, since the route was resumed in September is has been operated by a Boeing 777.

British Airways, Airbus A350, Accra
British Airways today operated its maiden Airbus A350 flight to the Ghanaian capital, Accra. Photo: Tom Boon -Simple Flying

British Airways was already looking at the roll-out of its next-gen twin-engined widebody across its routes before the current situation. Since the delivery of G-XWBA in late summer 2019, the type has flown to destinations such as Madrid, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, to name a few. Earlier this year, flights began to operate to the US too.

Flying to Accra

Today saw British Airways operate its maiden Airbus A350 service to Accra, the capital of Ghana. The aircraft operating today’s flight is G-XWBA, the first Airbus A350 to have been delivered to British Airways. According to data from FlightRadar24.com, flight BA81 departed from London Heathrow at 14:08. This was a delay from the planned departure time of 13:35.

British Airways, Airbus A350, Accra
The typical route from London to Accra. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

At the time of writing, the aircraft had flown down through France and Spain before entering African airspace above Algeria. The aircraft is projected to touch down in Accra at 20:09, a minute early. This is despite the delayed departure.

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A former Boeing 747 route

The route to Accra was previously operated by a Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The last Boeing 747 service that British Airways operated to Accra departed London on March 22nd. The flight on March 23rd departed from London Heathrow and got as far as Mallorca before turning back. The aircraft squawked 7700 on its return, a code reserved to indicate an emergency in progress.

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British Airways, Airbus A350, Accra
British Airways’ last attempt to fly a Boeing 747 to Accra returned to Heathrow. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

However, nobody realized this would be the last ever Boeing 747 flight to Accra. At the time, the last 747 was due to leave the British Airways fleet in 2024. However, in mid-July, it was confirmed that British Airways’ Boeing 747s would not return to the skies. Today the airline confirmed that its last two retrojets had been saved from the scrap heap.

Following this flight, the route remained unserved until British Airways returned to the city with the Boeing 777 on September 4th. Since then, Boeing 777 flights have operated daily until the A350 took over the reins today. The British Airways booking engine shows that the A350 will run the route daily until Saturday, March 27th. From March 28th, the Boeing 777 is back on the schedule. This is a natural date for the plan to change, as it is when the IATA summer 2021 timetable goes live.

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British Airways, Boeing 747, Landor
The Boeing 747 used to operate the route. Photo: Getty Images

So far, British Airways has received seven Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, with the latest delivery in early October. Unlike rival Lufthansa, who claims the A350 is 12% more efficient than the youngest 747, the -8, British Airways is utilizing its whole A350 fleet. Additionally, it has continued to take delivery of the A350 throughout the year. G-XWBH, the eight aircraft, will likely be delivered soon, given it has completed five test flights now.

Do you think Accra is a good route for the British Airways Airbus A350? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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