British Airways Begins Its Final Boeing 747 Retirements

British Airways has begun retiring its final 31 Boeing 747s. The British flag carrier revealed earlier this summer that it would no longer fly the Queen of the Skies as a result of the current situation affecting the aviation industry.

British Airways, Boeing 747, Early Retirement
G-CIVD is to take its final flight tomorrow. Photo: Getty Images

The Boeing 747 has become synonymous with the aviation industry following over half a century of service. However, it seems as though the queen’s reign is coming to an end. Instead, airlines are generally turning to twinjets, which prove to be more efficient than their quadjet sisters. As such, many airlines have bid their quadjets farewell.

British Airways begins retirements

British Airways today revealed that it is to begin the final phase of its Boeing 747 retirement plan. The British flag carrier had initially planned to retire its last Boeing 747 in 2024, presumably with some commemoration, as was the case with the airline’s final Boeing 767 flight in 2018.

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However, this will, sadly, not be the case. Instead, British Airways will not operate another 747 service with paying passengers on board. Instead, in all likeliness, the 747s will fly to their final destination, much the same as any regular flight. The airline is set to begin these last flights tomorrow with G-CIVD’s retirement.

British Airways, IAG Cargo, Boeing 787-10
Most of BA’s 747s will only make a one-way trip from Heathrow. Photo: Getty Images

G-CIVD’s retirement

Tomorrow, G-CIVD is set to complete its final flight. Most likely, the aircraft will end up being broken up, if it is to face the same fate as Boeing 747s that have gone before it. The aircraft will depart from London Heathrow at 09:00 tomorrow morning (August 17th). Presumably, an army of avgeeks will be present to wave the plane off.

British Airways confirmed that the aircraft would fly to Spain with the flight number BA9170E. Spain could mean that the plane is flying to TARMAC Aerosave’s facility in Teruel, where five other BA 747s are being stored, or perhaps to Ciudad Real to join some of Virgin’s retired 747s.

G-CIVD entered service with British Airways in 1994, making it 25 years old. Since then, the 747 has gone through a livery change and many flight hours. The aircraft’s last passenger flight saw it repatriating Brits from Lagos on April 18th.

Donald Trump, Global Travel Ban, Immigration
The aircraft last flew passengers back in April. Photo: Getty Images

Indeed, according to the Civil Aviation Authority, as of July 8th, the jumbo jet had clocked up 115,276 hours of flight time. This equates to 4803 days or 13.12 years! British Airways estimates that this means the aircraft has flown over 50 million miles across 13,364 flights.

Commenting on the farewell, 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.”

What is your favorite memory of the British Airways Boeing 747? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!