What Happened To British Airways’ Boeing 757s?

When it comes to narrowbody aircraft at British Airways, its single-aisle fleet today consists entirely of aircraft from the Airbus A320 and A320neo families. However, looking a little further back into the carrier’s history, it becomes evident that Boeing narrowbodies have also graced the UK flag carrier’s fleet. One such design was the Boeing 757, which had a presence at the airline for nearly three decades. Let’s look at BA’s relationship with the 757.

British Airways Boeing 757
BA flew more than 50 757s over the years. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr

When did they arrive?

Aviation database ch-aviation.com lists 54 Boeing 757s as having flown for British Airways, all of which belong to the 757-200 variant. This is perhaps unsurprising, given the imbalance in popularity between this model and the 757-300. Indeed, just 55 of the more than 1,000 757 family aircraft produced by Boeing were this stretched-fuselage variant.

When BA was formed in 1974 through the merger of BOAC and BEA, its aircraft were largely UK-built. However, it did inherit Boeing designs in the form of the 707 and 747. It began flying the 737 in the late-1970s, with the 757 becoming the fourth Boeing design to enter the fleet shortly after. Specifically, the first example, G-BIKB, arrived on January 25th, 1983.

1983 proved a busy year for 757 deliveries at the airline, with eight coming onboard. By the end of the 1980s, BA had received a total of 35 757-200s. The remaining examples joined the carrier throughout the 1990s, with the final arrival being G-CPEV, on June 11th, 1999.

British Airways Boeing 757
BA’s 757s joined the airline between 1983 and 1999. Photo: Adrian Pingstone via Wikimedia Commons

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When did they leave?

In terms of when BA’s 757s left the airline, there is one outlier that departed considerably earlier than its classmates. This was G-BKRM, which spent two lease periods at BA from Gatwick-based carrier Air Europe. The second of these short-term leases concluded in 1987.

The rest of BA’s fleet left the airline in the 2000s. Certain examples had already come and gone multiple times on different leases, but, in terms of final departures from the fleet, this was the decade when it all happened. They would all be gone within 10 years.

The first year of the new millennium saw five 757s leave BA’s fleet, but the exodus ramped up significantly in 2001. Indeed, the following year saw a total of 18 757 departures. 2002 was nearly as busy on this front, with 15 further 757s leaving the fleet. Things quietened down after this, but the departures continued, until BA operated its final 757 flight in 2010.

British Airways Boeing 757
BA flew its final 757 flight in 2010. Photo: Getty Images

Post-BA destinations

But where exactly did these aircraft end up after their time at the UK flag carrier. With BA having operated more than 50, there turned out to be rather a diverse array of new operators waiting in the wings for the aircraft. 2008 saw two of the aircraft join its French IAG partner OpenSkies, which flew from Paris and Amsterdam to the US East Coast.

Other destinations for BA’s former 757s included US lessor Pegasus Aviation, UK charter carrier Air 2000 (which became First Choice Airways in 2004), and Israel’s Sun d’Or International Airlines. However, the vast majority of the planes went on to fly airfreight for leading cargo brands. These included DHL, European Air Transport, and Federal Express.

Did you ever fly on one of British Airways’ Boeing 757s? If so, how did you find the experience? Let us know your thoughts and memories in the comments.