Just How Much Has British Airways’ Boeing 747 Fleet Flown?

Yesterday, British Airways retired the first of its remaining 31 Boeing 747 aircraft. The aircraft has been the flagship of the BA fleet for the past five decades, but now the Queen’s reign has ended. But just how many hours have these aircraft clocked up over the years? Simple Flying crunched the numbers so that you don’t have to.

It’s the end of the line for BA’s Boeing 747s. Photo: British Airways

It can be somewhat surprising how many hours are flown by commercial aircraft when you look at the data. Indeed, earlier this year, Simple Flying worked out that British Airways’ Airbus A380 fleet had flown a combined 32 years of flight.

354 years of flight

As of today, there are 31 Boeing 747’s left registered to British Airways, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority. We had already learned that G-CIVD had flown 115,276 hours or approximately 13.2 years. But just how does this scale-up across the fleet?

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.

Unfortunately, the data won’t be spot on, as some of the data held by the Civil Aviation Authority dates back to last year. However, as of the latest data held by the CAA, the 31 Boeing 747s remaining in the British Airways fleet have flown a combined total of 3,102,481 hours.

British Airways, Boeing 747, History
The airlines’ 747s have completed hundreds of hours of flights. Photo: Getty Images

On its own, this figure may just seem like an insanely high amount of hours. But it really brings it home when we convert it into years. In total, the airline’s fleet has operated over 354 years’ worth of flights combined.

Farewell to the Queen

Unfortunately, it is time to say goodbye to the Queen as far as British Airways is concerned. However, that doesn’t mean the jumbo jet won’t fly again. As we saw with G-CIVD yesterday, most aircraft will take at least one more flight. Quite simply, Heathrow Airport doesn’t have the capacity to scrap its remaining Boeing 747.

Commenting on the retirements, Al Bridger, British Airways’ Director of Flight Operations, said,

“All of us at British Airways and so many of our customers will have fond memories and special moments from our travels on the iconic jumbo jet…I know I speak for our customers and the global aviation community when I say, despite rightly moving to more sustainable ways of flying, we will still miss the 747 dearly.”

A new era dawns

As the Boeing 747 is ushered out of the British Airways fleet, a new era dawns for the carrier. Barring its Airbus A380s, the British flag carrier will only fly two-engined aircraft.

Before the current situation, change was already afoot at the airline. Indeed, just over a year ago, we saw British Airways take delivery of its first Airbus A350 aircraft.

Highly efficient twin jets are the way forward. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

British Airways is keen to replace its older aircraft with more fuel-efficient, younger models. Alongside the A350, the airline is also in the process of receiving new 787 Dreamliners. These will be supplemented by new 777X aircraft in the future.

Will you miss the Boeing 747? Let us know what you think in the comments!