British Airways fans are in for a treat today as the airline takes delivery of two widebody jets. Alongside its seventh Airbus A350, the airline is also taking its first Boeing 777 in six years.
Many airlines around the world have been delaying aircraft deliveries as a response to the current situation. Some, such as Qatar, have even gone as far as warning both Airbus and Boeing that if they don’t accept delays, they may not get business in the future. One airline that has happily been continuing deliveries, however, is the British flag carrier, British Airways.
First Boeing 777 in six years
Already today, British Airways has taken delivery of its first Boeing 777 in six years. G-STBM departed from Boeing’s Everett plant at 17:18 yesterday. Following an eight hour 38 minute flight to the United Kingdom, the aircraft touched down at its new London Heathrow home at 09:56 this morning.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
The Boeing 777-300ER will initially be somewhat unique within the British Airways fleet. It is the first aircraft to be fitted with the airline’s new First suite. Essentially, the seat is expected to be reasonably similar to the airline’s current first class seat. However, it would additionally have a door to allow it to be competitive with the airline’s new business class product.
An A350 to join
As if a shiny new Boeing 777 wasn’t enough for British Airways, the deliveries won’t stop there. Throughout the past year, British Airways has been steadily taking deliveries of Airbus A350 aircraft.
Today the British flag carrier will take delivery of its seventh Airbus A350, registered as G-XWBG. At the time of writing, the aircraft was powered up on the ground in Toulouse, according to data from FlightRadar24.com. The aircraft is expected to arrive at its new London Heathrow base later this afternoon.
Out with the old and in with the new
Before the current situation, British Airways had already been in the midst of a fleet renewal. The airline had been phasing out its broad, inefficient Boeing 747s to make way for the next generation of aircraft, such as the A350 and upcoming Boeing 777X. However, as we all now know, the airline has decided to retire its remaining 747s immediately.
In effect, this action will help British Airways to right-size its fleet during the current crisis. Previously the plan had been to operate on a one-in-one-out basis roughly. However, by retiring all the 747s now, the airline’s fleet is currently smaller than pre-crisis. This would allow the airline to rebuild its fleet slowly as demand returns over the coming years.
The airline had been expecting its first Boeing 777X delivery in 2022. However, it is unclear if this date will be pushed back by delays in the 777X project on Boeing’s end.
Have you flown on a new aircraft? Let us know your experiences in the comments!