Bad weather mars farewell to BA’s jumbo jets

The last British Airways 747 aircraft to depart Heathrow Airport. British Airways took the decision to retire it’s entire fleet of 747’s earlier this year. picture David Dyson

It may not have been the weather they were hoping for but hordes of spectators and plane spotters turned out to watch BA’s last jumbo jets leave their home base of Heathrow.

The airline had decided to retire the iconic jets earlier than planned because of the covid crisis and with long haul bookings at rock bottom, the final two Boeing 747s formally flew off to destinations in Gloucestershire and Wales where they will be dismantled and sold for parts.

Despite the ignominious finale in a rain swept Heathrow, the jet dubbed the ‘queen of the skies’ has been hugely successful and the mainstay of its long haul operations for many years. It was reliable, easy to fly and popular with passengers, many of whom enjoyed the exclusive upper deck.

More modern jets from both Boeing and Airbus are offering fuel savings of maybe 20 to 30% so its demise was inevitable.

It was originally planned to use both runways for a synchronised take off but bad weather and logistical issues meant that the event was eventually a somewhat muted affair using just one runway instead. 

But it didn’t stop enthusiasts from turning out to bid a fond and emotional farewell to the ‘queen of the skies’.