British Airways Boeing 747 Heads To English Aircraft Graveyard

British Airways has ferried a Boeing 747 from London Heathrow to Kemble in Gloucestershire. Simple Flying believes that the aircraft has been ferried to the aircraft graveyard for end of life services.

British Airways Boeing 747, Retirement
British Airways today ferried a Boeing 747 to an aircraft graveyard. Photo: Getty Images

Recently, we’ve seen a wave of British Airways ferry flights as the airline looks to store its grounded aircraft. This included five Boeing 747s being ferried to an aircraft graveyard in Spain a few weeks back. While we understand that those aircraft are not being retired, it seems as though there is a different fate in mind for G-CIVL.

One last flight?

Recently, we have seen many of British Airways’ retired aircraft making their final flight to St Athan in Wales. However, the airline has also been known to scrap aircraft at Cotswold Airport in Kemble. One British Airways Boeing 747 flew here today, potentially for end of life services.

G-CIVL is a 23.1-year-old Boeing 747, according to Planespotters. The website indicated that it was withdrawn from use on 26th March 2020. Indeed, according to FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft last flew with passengers from Cape Town on 25th March 2020.

British Airways Boeing 747, Retirement
The aircraft was ferried to Kemble earlier today. Photo: FlightRadar24.com

However, today the aircraft made a short hop to Cotswold Airport in Kemble. The plane departed Heathrow at 11:48, landing in Kemble at 12:09, just 20 minutes later. The flight was so short that the aircraft only reached a height of 6,000 feet.

While the fate of G-CIVL hasn’t been confirmed, Simple Flying believes that the aircraft has been retired. British Airways has previously sent Boeing 747s to Kemble to be decommissioned. Additionally, the airport is home to Air Salvage International, who describe themselves as “A world leader in aircraft disassembly – serving the global aviation industry.” Of course, it is possible that these aircraft could have traveled to Kemble for long term storage.

More to come?

While again unconfirmed, sources told Simple Flying that they believe four more Boeing 747 aircraft will be retired from the BA fleet this week. These are:

  • G-CIVJ – Last flight: 5th April 2020;
  • G-CIVK – Last flight: 18th March 2020;
  • G-CIVN – Last flight: 25th March 2020;
  • G-CIVH – Last flight: 17th March 2020.
British Airways Boeing 747, Retirement
For many years the Boeing 747 has been an icon of the British Airways fleet. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

British Airways had already been due to retire its fleet of Boeing 747s across the next few years, so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if the aircraft doesn’t fly again. Many airlines as beginning to state that they expect demand to take years to return. This has even led industry giant Lufthansa to retire some Boeing 747s immediately.

Given that the Boeing 747s were already on the way out, if British Airways finds that it doesn’t need so much capacity over the coming years, these aircraft would be an obvious candidate for early retirement. Of course, one way or another, we will eventually find out if they don’t fly again.

Have you flown on a British Airways Boeing 747? What is your favorite memory of the aircraft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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