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Boeing 747

British Airways says bye-bye to its jumbo jets

Over and done with: British Airways is decommissioning all Boeing 747s with immediate effect. Commercial flights with the jumbo-jets will never take place again.

Tis Meyer/

Boeing 747 of British Airways: They will never fly again commercially.

British Airways is actually proud of the Queen of the Skies. So proud that they presented three Boeing 747s in a special livery for their 100th anniversary. After all, the jumbo jet played an important role in the airline’s fleet. With currently 28 of them, British Airways owns the largest Boeing 747 fleet in the world after Lufthansa. But then came the corona crisis.

The demand for flights collapsed to such an extent that British Airways’ parent company IAG revised its fleet plan. And there is no more room for the Boeing 747 in it. In a message to its crews, which aeroTELEGRAPH has seen, the airline says: «With much regret, we are proposing, subject to consultation, the immediate retirement of our Queen of the Skies, the 747-400.»

«A jet from another era»

Before the decision is final, the management has to talk to the unions. Each jumbo-jet offers a lot of pilots’ jobs. Whether all will be maintained is questionable. Due to the corona crisis, the airline announced before that it would cut at least 12,000 jobs.

It breaks the heart of all those who have seen the iconic aircraft fly for decades, the letter goes on to say. But the Boeing 747 is «a jet from another era». In fact, the youngest 747 of British Airways is more than 20 years old. Most of the planes should have retired by 2024 anyway.

No more commercial flights

Now it is definitely over with the Boeing 747 at British Airways. Following the appropriate consultations, the company plans to remove all aircraft from service as soon as possible. «There will be no more commercial flights», they said.

Whether this also means that – unlike with other airlines – there will be no farewell flights remains open. But in view of the austerity course being pursued by the parent company IAG, this is entirely conceivable.

Not the only airline

British Airways is no exception. Due to the corona crisis, KLM decommissioned its Boeing 747 earlier than planned, Qantas and Corsair did the same.

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