The end of an era, a victim of the collapse in air travel – British Airways is retiring all of its Boeing 747 ‘jumbo’ jets with immediate effect.
Once the mainstay of its long-haul fleet the, the aircraft has been superseded by more fuel-efficient aircraft such the Boeing 787 ‘dreamliner’ and the Airbus A380.
BA flew its first 747 around 50 years ago under the BOAC brand and it became the world’s largest user of the hugely popular and spacious aircraft. It has 31 left of the 747-400 model but now even these are destined for the retirement room.
Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said in a letter to staff: “This is not how we wanted or expected to have to say goodbye to our incredible fleet of 747 aircraft.
“It is a heart-breaking decision to have to make. So many people, including many thousands of our colleagues past and present, have spent countless hours on and with these wonderful planes – they have been at the centre of so many memories, including my very first long-haul flight. 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. As painful as it is, this is the most logical thing for us to propose
“The retirement of the jumbo jet will be felt by many people across Britain, as well as by all of us at British Airways. It is sadly another difficult but necessary step as we prepare for a very different future.”