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British Airways says goodbye to first of its last 747 jumbo jets

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Photo Credit: Stuart Bailey / British Airways

British Airways will today retire its first Boeing 747 since announcing last month that all 31 of its jumbo jets had sadly flown their last commercial services.

The Boeing 747-400, registration G-CIVD, will depart from London Heathrow on Tuesday, 18 August at 9am local time under flight number BA9170E after more than 25 magnificent 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.”

A full fact file on G-CIVD is below. Video footage and photos of the aircraft’s final Heathrow departure will be available to download from the British Airways Media Centre tomorrow lunchtime.

British Airways 747 – G-CIVD fact file:

Date it entered service 14 December 1994
Retirement date 19 August 2020
Popular / recent routes Last flight was to Lagos, part of the repatriation effort, on 18 April 2020
Liveries worn Landor – ‘City of Coventry’

Current: Union Flag / Chatham Dockyard with oneworld logo

Seating configuration First: 14

Club: 52

World Traveller Plus: 36

World Traveller: 243

Facts and stats (approximate) Top speed: 565mph

Take off speed: 180mph

Length: 70.6m, Height: 19.41m, Wingspan: 64.4m

Weight: 184 tonnes, maximum take-off weight 378 tonnes

4 x Rolls-Royce RB211-524 engines

Flown 115,276.8 hours, 13,364 flights and over 50 million miles

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.

The fuel-hungry aircraft were slowly being phased out by British Airways as they reached the end of their working life in order to help meet the company’s commitment to net zero by 2050. The airline has invested heavily in new, modern long-haul aircraft including six A350s and 32 787s which are around 25 per cent more fuel-efficient than the 747.

More information from the 747 retirement announcement is available here