British Airways has announced that its final two Heathrow-based Boeing 747 aircraft will depart this morning.
One aircraft is painted in its heritage Negus livery and the other in its current Chatham Dockyard livery.
Thousands of British Airways flight crew, cabin crew and engineering teams have worked over several decades on and with the aircraft during their time at British Airways during a period when they represented the heart of the long-haul fleet.
To commemorate G-CIVB and G-CIVY’s final take-off from the airport at 08:30, the airline has arranged a special send off with a unique and rarely seen synchronised dual take off on parallel runways, which will be followed by fly past along the southerly runway by one of the aircraft (G-CIVY in current BA livery) as it bids its home a final farewell.
Alex Cruz, British Airways chief executive, said “This will be a difficult day for everybody at British Airways as the aircraft leaves our home at Heathrow for the very last time.
“We will pay tribute to them for the incredible part they have played in our 100-year history and to the millions of customers and BA colleagues who have flown on board and taken care of them.”
According to data from Cirium, there are currently a total of 492 Boeing 747s in service, in storage or on order with airlines.
Of these, 35 remain in passenger service, with 122 in storage.
Some 298 are currently in cargo operation, with 23 in storage and 14 on order.
The figures mean passenger 747s account for only 11 per cent of those in service currently, and 84 per cent of those in storage.
The 747 fleet in airline service peaked in July 1998, with 986 aircraft.
In terms of 747-400s specifically (the type operated by British Airways), there are just 21 passenger aircraft remaining in service.
Take a look a series of images from the swansong here.