First BA 747 Leaves Heathrow For Retirement

UK flag carrier begins the process of retiring its 31 Boeing 747s after announcing the end of the aircraft’s operations last month 

British Airways today retired its first Boeing 747, after it announced last month that all 31 of its jumbos had flown their final commercial services. 

The aircraft, G-CIVD (c/n 27349), departed London/Heathrow this morning bound for Castellon in Spain. The 25-year-old widebody operated its last flight, which was a service to Lagos as part of a repatriation effort, on April 18. 

British Airways 747
The jet was delivered to the airline on December 14, 1994. British Airways

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.”

BA 747
The jumbo has worn the special 'Oneworld' paint scheme since January 2014. British Airways

The jet departed Runway 27L at Heathrow around 10.30am and flew south at 35,000ft before landing at the Spanish airport at 13.13pm local time. 

During its time with the flag carrier, the example flew 13,364 flights equating to 115,276 hours that covered over 50 million miles.

BA 747 27L
The aircraft lifted off Runway 27L at Heathrow just after 10.30am local time. British Airways

British Airways’ fleet of 747s are being retired at an accelerated rate because of the 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.