The world’s largest operator of the Boeing 747, British Airways, has confirmed that it is retiring the Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet with immediate effect.
British Airways has always been an airline that has used iconic aircraft that have made aviation history. Unfortunately, as with the Concorde in the early 2000s, extra-ordinary circumstances forced its premature disposal. Following the Air France Concorde crash in Paris and a slump in air travel following the September 11 attacks in New York in 2001, it was decided that Concorde operations would cease in 2003 after 27 years of service. The final commercial Concorde flight was BA002 from New York-JFK to London-Heathrow on 24 October, 2003. In the same way, today, the pandemic crisis has caused an economic meltdown for the aviation industry which has scrambled to stay alive, to the detriment not only of the workers, but also of these iconic aircraft.
In 2019, as part of the celebrations of a centenary of airline operations in the United Kingdom, British Airways announced that 4 aircraft would receive retro liveries. The first of these was a Boeing 747-400 which was repainted into a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery, which it should have retained until its retirement scheduled in 2023.
”It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect,” British Airways confirmed on Twitter.
Certainly now, the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, will focus heavily on the modern Boeing and Airbus models, the 787 and the A350 respectively, entering a new "more fuel-efficient" era of civil aviation.
Although Emirates has recently resumed flights with its A380s again, many other airlines, such as Air France and Qantas, just to name a few, have run so-called "farewell flights" for their quad-engine aircraft. In particular, Qantas, after almost 50 years of service, will retire its Boeing 747s, with the last aircraft scheduled to depart Australia on 22 July 2020, bound for storage in the Mojave Desert in the United States.