CONFIRMED: Negus BA 747 to be preserved at Kemble

A second jumbo operated by the Heathrow-based carrier is saved from the scrapheap

After weeks of speculation, it’s been confirmed that a British Airways Boeing 747 will be permanently retired to Cotswold Airport near Kemble in Gloucestershire.

The widebody, G-CIVB (c/n 25811) is painted in the special Negus livery which adorned the flag carrier’s jets in the 1970s and 1980s.

Powered by four Rolls Royce RB-211 turbofans, G-CIVB has been at Kemble since October 8. British Airways

British Airways says the airport will maintain the aircraft and plans to convert an area of its interior to be used as a unique business, conferencing and private hire venue, as well as a cinema for locals and an educational facility for school trips. It is planned that the aircraft will be open to the public from spring 2021.

Suzannah Harvey, CEO of Cotswold Airport, said: “It is great news for locals and visitors who will be able to see and experience one of the most iconic passenger aircraft of its time. We’re absolutely delighted to make this happen following its final flight from London Heathrow to Cotswold Airport on October 8.”

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ newly appointed CEO, added: “It was with great sadness that we retired our two final 747s based at Heathrow earlier this month, so we’re glad Cotswold Airport is able to give one of these aircraft a new home and a new lease of life. The 747, and the Negus livery, are iconic in British Airways’ past, and we hope locals and visitors will enjoy seeing this slice of history for years to come.”

The jumbo was painted in the Negus colour scheme in March 2019 to mark the carrier centenary. British Airways

Meanwhile, last Thursday (Oct 22) it was revealed that another jumbo, G-CIVW (c/n 25822), would be saved from the scrapheap and live a new life at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey. Upon landing it was handed over to the airport which will preserve the widebody for use as a commercial film set and training facility.  

The flag carrier announced in July, that it would retire its 31 remaining Boeing 747s with immediate effect owing to the downturn in travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since entering the fleet on February 15, 1994, G-CIVB operated 13,398 flights and flew for 118,445 hours over nearly 60 million miles. Its last passenger flight was from Miami to Heathrow on April 6, 2020.