British Airways – Retirement of the 747-400

I’m not that much of an aircraft spotter, but I’m slightly saddened that British Airways has announced it is permanently retiring its entire 747-400 fleet, four years earlier than expected. That’s not entirely surprising given current events, but it’s an unfortunate end to what is perhaps one of the most beautiful aircraft that there has been.

I’ve flown on many of BA’s 747-400 aircraft, but this flight from London Heathrow T5 to Boston in May 2019 will be my last on-board one of their fleet. It’s aircraft G-CIVE and for this aircraft, its last passenger journey was 24 March 2020 when it returned to London from Vancouver.

There are 31 of these aircraft that are now being scrapped, although there are hopes that BA might be able to save one from being entirely destroyed, perhaps sending it to an aircraft hanger or museum.

This is G-BYGC that I saw last year at Heathrow T5, painted in an old BOAC livery.

And this is what Alex Cruz said about the decision:

“This is not how we wanted or expected to have to say goodbye to our incredible fleet of 747 aircraft. It is a heart-breaking decision to have to make. So many people, including many thousands of our colleagues past and present, have spent countless hours on and with these wonderful planes – they have been at the centre of so many memories, including my very first long-haul flight. They will always hold a special place in our hearts at British Airways.”