British Airways has confirmed that the last of its three retrojet Boeing 747 aircraft will be saved from the scrap heap. Including one aircraft in the airline’s current Chatham Dockyard livery, a total of four Queens of the Skies have been saved from being torn apart.
British Airways saddened many aviation fans earlier this year when it announced it was ending Boeing 747 operations after half a century. However, British Airways is not alone in its actions. Airlines such as Qantas and KLM have also retired the type ahead of its time. Today, Lufthansa is one of the leading 747 operators with its fleet of -8 aircraft.
BOAC to be saved
British Airways today confirmed that its BOAC retrojet would be saved from being scrapped. The aircraft will find a new home at Bro Tathan business park in the Vale of Glamorgan. At its new home in Wales, the aircraft will continue to be cared for by aviation enthusiasts.
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G-BYGC, the aircraft that wears the BOAC livery, was the first aircraft to get the British Airways retrojet treatment. Indeed, the airline’s first 747s were delivered in the livery fifty years ago, albeit with a smaller hump.
Landor will also be saved
With Negus going to Kemble and BOAC going to the Vale of Glamorgan, that leaves Landor. Landor is currently in Cardiff with BOAC. However, the aircraft, G-BNLY, will soon fly to Dunsfold in England.
Dunsfold will now house three former British Airways Boeing 747s. The airport already had one of British Airways’ Boeing 747-200s, used as a set in music videos and Bond films. However, it received its second aircraft earlier this year, a 747-400 in the Chatham dockyard paint scheme.
Commenting on the aircraft’s new homes, British Airways’ CEO Sean Doyle said,
“We think [the Boeing 747s] have great historical importance, not only to British Airways but to the entire aviation industry, and we are pleased they will be preserved for future generations in locations in the UK.”
Why is British Airways retiring the queen?
British Airways decided to end its Boeing 747 operations earlier this year due to the current lack of passenger demand. The type had already been due to leave the fleet by the end of 2024.
By retiring the aircraft now, British Airways doesn’t need to maintain capacity that it likely won’t use until its retired. However, the decision also rightsizes the airline for today while allowing it to regain its former strength over the coming years as previously ordered replacement aircraft are delivered.
Across the board, four-engined aircraft have fallen out of favor due to their relative fuel inefficiency. However, for the time being, while some of British Airways’ Airbus A380s have been sent to a Spanish Aircraft graveyard, the airline remains committed to the giant of the skies.
Will you miss the British Airways Queen of the Skies? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!