British Airways is thought to be considering saving a Boeing 747 from the scrapheap. The airline’s Negus retro-jet is expected to be preserved at its new home in Kemble following its final flight tomorrow.
Earlier this year, British Airways revealed that it would be retiring its entire remaining fleet of 31 Boeing 747s with immediate effect. This was prompted by the considerable travel downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many aviation enthusiasts were sad to learn that the airline had no plans to save any aircraft, as had been done with the Concorde fleet following its retirement in 2003. It now seems that this might not be the case.
British Airways is expected to spare G-CVIB from the scrap heap. Instead, the airline confirmed to Simple Flying that the Queen of the Skies could be preserved at Cotswold Airport in Kemble, Gloucestershire.
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The aircraft will undertake its final flight tomorrow, departing from London Heathrow alongside G-CIVY. These two aircraft will be the last British Airways Boeing 747s to ever depart from London Heathrow, bringing to a close a 50-year era. Both aircraft will fly to Kemble, which is already dismantling other British Airways 747s.
One of three retro jets
G-CIVB was one of three Boeing 747s that was given a retro paint job by British Airways. Last year the airline repainted four aircraft to celebrate 100 years since the first flight of its predecessor, Aircraft Transport and Travel.
One Airbus A319 (G-EUPJ) was painted in a retro BEA livery. Meanwhile, three liveries were applied to the Queen of the Skies. G-BYGC was transformed into the BOAC livery from the airline’s 747-100 aircraft. G-BNLY now wears the Landor livery, while G-CIVB wears the Negus livery that came in between BOAC and Landor. G-BNLY was unique out of the three. It was the only Boeing 747 that was actually delivered in its retro livery.
What about the other 747s?
As of now, no plans to save any of the airline’s other Boeing 747s have yet been made. As such, each one will likely be scrapped. This will, however, allow Boeing 747 lovers to perhaps purchase bits of the old aircraft, such as keyrings made from their skin.
Following the departure of the two 747s from Heathrow tomorrow, British Airways will be left with a handful of 747s at its Cardiff heavy maintenance base. This includes the aircraft wearing both the Landor and BOAC liveries.
Alongside Kemble, British Airways has been flying aircraft to St Athan in Wales, and various Spanish aircraft graveyards. Teruel, in north-east Spain, was one of the first facilities to receive the airline’s 747s before the airline had even announced their retirement.
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