British Airways decides to retire Boeing 747s immediately

Editorial

British Airways has announced that none of the 31 Boeing 747’s the airline has will return into service. The airline has kept the 747’s grounded for the last couple of months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

British Airways currently has 31 Boeing 747’s in it’s fleet, which is the second largest jumbo-jet fleet in the world. Atlas Air still holds the record for having the largest fleet of Boeing 747’s, these are however mostly used for cargo operations.

The retirement of the Boeing 747, which was originally scheduled for 2024, significantly shrinks the British Airways fleet. Many of the Airbus A350’s and Boeing 787’s ordered by British Airways to replace the Boeing 747’s have not yet been delivered, meaning the airlines fleet will shrink by about ten percent.

Replacing the Boeing 747’s with modern twin-engine jets such as the Boeing 787 is a part of British Airways’ plan to be completely carbon neutral by 2050. The operational cost of the Boeing 787 is also significantly lower than that of the Boeing 747.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “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”.

Whether or not British Airways will organize goodbye-flights with their Boeing 747’s is still unclear.

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