British Airways retires entire 747 fleet after travel downturn
British Airways has said it will retire its entire fleet of Boeing 747s as it suffers from the sharp travel downturn.
The UK airline is the world’s largest operator of the jumbo jets which it first flew in 1989.
“It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect,” a BA spokesman told the BBC.
Airlines across the world have been hit hard by coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
“It is unlikely our magnificent ‘queen of the skies’ will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again due to the downturn in travel caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic,” the spokesman added.
BA, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), currently has 31 747s in its fleet. They will all be retired with immediate effect.
It had planned on retiring the planes in 2024 but has brought forward the date due to the downturn.
The British carrier added it will operate more flights on modern, more fuel-efficient planes such as its new Airbus A350s and 787 Dreamliners.
It expects them to help it achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Boeing’s 747 helped democratise global air travel in the 1970s, and marked its 50-year flying anniversary in February 2019.
US-based Boeing signalled the end of the plane’s production a year ago.
A wave of restructuring triggered by the virus outbreak is hitting airlines across the world.
Hundreds of BA ground staff face redundancy as the airline slashes costs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.