British Airways will today retire the first of its Boeing 747 aircraft.
The flag-carrier confirmed last month the fleet of 31 planes would fly their last commercial services in the coming weeks, as the airline seeks to cut costs.
The Boeing 747-400, registration G-CIVD, will depart from London Heathrow this morning under flight number BA9170E after more than 25 years of flying.
British Airways’ fleet of 747s are being retired at an accelerated rate as a result of the devastating impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector, which is not predicted to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.
Al Bridger, British Airways’ director of flight operations, said: “All of us at British Airways and so many of our customers will have fond memories and special moments from our travels on the iconic jumbo jet.
“As a pilot who was lucky enough to fly the aircraft, the sheer scale of it was unforgettable, you literally looked down on other aircraft.
“It changed aviation forever when it arrived in the skies and I know I speak for our customers and the global aviation community when I say, despite rightly moving to more sustainable ways of flying, we will still miss the 747 dearly.”
The plane made its last flight to Lagos as part of the Covid-19 repatriation efforts in April.
The 747 has been an iconic part of British Airways’ fleet for nearly fifty years.
At one point the airline operated 57 of the aircraft, with the jumbo jet’s first flight to New York in 1971.