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Photo: Kohei Kanno/Wikipedia

British Airways to start retiring 747s later this year

Jan 29, 2019
Photo: Kohei Kanno/Wikipedia

As 777X, A350, 787 and A330neo orders continue to stack up, the 747 passenger jet is now seeing the first of its last days.

With all U.S. airlines ditching the older queen of the skies in favour for newer, smaller, and more efficient alternatives, British Airways is now joining the band, with plans to start retiring its 747s starting later this year. AirlineGeeks was able to obtain an internal document outlining the retirement schedule.

According to the list, the first 747 is expected to leave the fleet in July 2019. The 13 listed vary between 21 and 28 years old, and are the first to go as they were not in receipt of a cabin retrofit. The schedule extends into 2022, with plans to completely retire their fleet of 34 747s by 2024.

The retirement plans are complemented by the addition of a number of different types including three more 777-300ERs over the course of this and next year. They will also be adding the longest of the 787s, the 787-10 from as early as 2020, along with four A350-1000s at the end of this year.

Avid lovers of the jumbo still have lots of time to bask in the heritage of one of the defining aircraft in aviation history though. As an added treat, BA will repaint four of its 747s in retro liveries, with the first being respray in British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) colors. The retro paint jobs are part of the airline’s plan to commemorate the different brands that eventually merged together to help the company see 100 years in service.

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