British Airways retired the last of its Boeing 747 airplanes this morning, when the final two planes still in service departed from London Heathrow, reports Clodagh Dooley
Back in July, British Airways announced that its remaining 747s had sadly flown their last commercial services as a result of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector. The fleet is being replaced by quieter more fuel-efficient aircraft as part of the airline’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
To commemorate the poignant event, the airline’s two aircraft took to the skies, one after the other, from runway 27R. Once in the air, G-CIVY circled back over the southerly runway in an emotional farewell to its home, before heading to St Athan where the aircraft will be retired.
I was speaking with Tara Magee, Key Partnership Manager UK & Ireland, British Airways, who was feeling sad about the farewell, but reminiscent of her many memories flying on the 747 aircraft. She told me, “I was always so proud to be escorting groups on the 747, highlighting the aspects of our different cabins. But especially if we were lucky enough to be seated in the upper deck and having the Captain and First Officers saying hello as they went past. We were truly on cloud nine!”
And, hundreds of aviation enthusiasts and customers were feeling reminiscent too, as they shared their favourite 747 memories on social media this morning using #BA747farewell.
G-CIVB, painted in the airline’s historic Negus livery, and G-CIVY, in its current Chatham Dockyard livery, are going to be retiring in the UK at Kemble and St Athan, respectively. Between the two aircraft, they have flown an impressive 104 million miles in their 47 years of service and carried millions of British Airways customers.
Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said, “Today was an emotional milestone in the retirement of our 747 fleet, as it was our last chance to see the ‘Queen of the Skies’ depart from our home at Heathrow airport. The 747s have played a huge role in our 100-year history, forming the backbone of our fleet for over 50 years. I know I speak for our customers and the many thousands of colleagues who have spent much of their careers alongside them when I say we will miss seeing them grace our skies.”
To express its gratitude to the millions of people who flew on the jets, British Airways is also offering a jumbo reduction on 747 Club World seats, which will be on sale on ba.com for just £999 for the lucky customers that find them. The limited number of ultra-low fare seats are live now to popular destinations that the airline’s Queen of The Skies used to fly to, which will include Miami, Dallas and Cape Town.
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