“It is unlikely our magnificent ‘queen of the skies’ will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again,” the carrier said in a statement, adding that the decision goes into effect immediately.
According to the airline’s website, there are 32 Boeing 747-400s in its fleet. The jet, which earned the nickname ‘Jumbo Jet’ for its distinctive upper deck shape, also called the ‘Queen of the Skies’, served around a dozen destinations, including Beijing, Dubai, New York, San Francisco, Cape Town, and Mexico. The company initially planned to retire the aircraft in four years, but the collapse in travel demand caused by the pandemic forced it to change its plans.
British Airways, a part of International Consolidated Airlines Group (ICAG), said that it now wants to fly more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft like Airbus A350s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners. In line with global corporate ‘green’ efforts, the UK carrier says the move could help it achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Other airlines have already decided to say goodbye to their ageing 747s amid the industry-wide crisis. Majors such as Virgin Atlantic, KLM, and Qantas Airways decided to phase out the model, and Lufthansa is reportedly ready to follow suit.
It was earlier reported that US aerospace giant Boeing wants to stop making the airliner, which marked its 50th flight anniversary in February 2019.
The last ‘Queen of the Skies’ is expected to roll off the production line in the next two years.