Due to drop in demand, British Airways has decided to retire its 31 Boeing 747s.
“The major industry bodies agree that we will not see a return to 2019 levels until 2023 at the soonest,” the airline announced. “We know how many memories are shared across the British Airways family. The decision to retire the fleet been taken in response to the crisis.”
The aircraft, whose engines required large amounts of fuel, were slowly being phased out by British Airways to help meet the company’s commitment to net zero by 2050. The airline has invested in new, modern long-haul aircraft including six A350s and 32 787s which are around 25 per cent more fuel-efficient than the 747.
“It is a heartbreaking decision to have to make,” said Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO. “They will always hold a special place in our hearts at British Airways. We have committed to making our fleet more environmentally friendly as we look to reduce the size of our business to reflect the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on aviation.”
The first BOAC 747 flew from London to New York on 14th April 1971. In July 1989 the first British Airways 747-400, still in use today, took off.