Yesterday, British Airways announced the retirement of its entire 747 fleet. The Queen of the Skies first took flight with British Airways in the 1970s, and BA has been one of the largest commercial passenger operators of the type. This announcement is not entirely surprising. BA’s 747 fleet is old; it’s “newest” 747 is 21 years old, and it’s oldest 747 is 27 years old.
British Airways fleet of 30 747s has been grounded since April. With space already tight at London Heathrow, the airline has flow most of its fleet to Cardiff Airport in Wales. BA operates a maintenance hanger here, and taxiways have become temporary parking lot for BA’s 747s.
British Airways intends to replace the 747 with A350s and 787s. BA operates a large 14 seat first class cabin on the 747, so it will ultimately lose some first inventory with the aircraft’s retirement. BA is one of the few airlines that operates a first class cabin on the 787, although it has a smaller 8 seat configuration.