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Source on Twitter tonight (@HeadForPoints) reporting that the BA 747 fleet has been confirmed as dead and buried to BA staff today.
It’s official. BA are retiring all of their remaining 747-400’s with immediate effect.
There have only been a very small number of repatriation flights, carried out by only one of these a/c, since March.
The last of these flights was at the beginning of June.

.
 

RJ

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It is a shame their withdrawal has come earlier than planned and understandably without fanfare. I was driving the Hounslow to Heathrow rail replacement service a couple of weekends ago and noticed a load of them parked up, viewable from Envoy Avenue. A sad sight.

I nipped over to New York to buy some trainers in 2017. BA Babybus out to JFK and upstairs in a 747 on the way back. It was noisy and really rather warm up there, but a nice, unique experience. The noise was a bit of a bonus as it masked the sound of people snoring and in turn some decent headphones masked the noise of the engines!
 

Snow1964

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I think BA aircraft are also stored At Bournemouth (lots of spare taxiways which can be used for parking) and some have been flown to Kemble (where there are some aircraft dismantlers that recover valuable parts for use in other aircraft).

Also appears a number of Airbus A321 have moved to Glasgow, but not sure why they are going there.
 

Bletchleyite

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It is a shame their withdrawal has come earlier than planned and understandably without fanfare. I was driving the Hounslow to Heathrow rail replacement service a couple of weekends ago and noticed a load of them parked up, viewable from Envoy Avenue. A sad sight.

I nipped over to New York to buy some trainers in 2017. BA Babybus out to JFK and upstairs in a 747 on the way back. It was noisy and really rather warm up there, but a nice, unique experience. The noise was a bit of a bonus as it masked the sound of people snoring and in turn some decent headphones masked the noise of the engines!
The most noticeable thing I found about upstairs in a 747 was that the floor is very bouncy and creaky. Turbulence would give you one bounce, then you'd get two or three more from the floor.

Shame they won't (presumably) be doing some kind of farewell flights.
 

nlogax

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747 retirements confirmed. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53426886

British Airways has said it will retire all of its Boeing 747s as it suffers from the sharp travel downturn.

The UK airline is the world's largest operator of the jumbo jets, with 31 in the fleet.
"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.
Gutted, but entirely expected considering the current situation :frown:
 

Peter Mugridge

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Shame they won't (presumably) be doing some kind of farewell flights.
Unfortunately it doesn't look like it'll be possible - although I know for a fact that there has been a viable flight plan on paper with them for the past year or so that has all the waypoints worked out for a 2 hour flight ( = 3 hours block time ) round the UK for just this purpose. It's even been designed to be "reversible" according to the wind direction on the day. It's something they were looking at, but even before the virus struck it wasn't intended to be until at least next year so the planning probably hasn't got to the stage where it could be arranged in a hurry.

Qantas just did three 747 farewells that all sold out in a matter of hours.
 
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I think BA aircraft are also stored At Bournemouth (lots of spare taxiways which can be used for parking) and some have been flown to Kemble (where there are some aircraft dismantlers that recover valuable parts for use in other aircraft).

Also appears a number of Airbus A321 have moved to Glasgow, but not sure why they are going there.
BA had just over 40 aircraft stored at Bournemouth during the height of the shutdown, mostly A319, A320 and A321's.
There were also 5 BA B747's parked at Bournemouth, but these left a month ago, with one going back to Heathrow and the other 4 flying to BA's maintenance base at Cardiff to join a load of other B747's in storage there.
The number of Airbus's at Bournemouth has since reduced with quite a number of them returning to Heathrow, or being flown up to Glasgow for maintenance before going back into service.

BA had 32 B747-400's in its fleet in March, at the start of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Prior to yesterday's announcement, they had 30 remaining on the fleet, but all of them grounded in storage.

There were only 9 BA B747's left at Heathrow, as of last week.
14 are parked in storage at Cardiff.
5 were sent to the airliner graveyard at Teruel, Spain, on 3rd April. These will almost certainly be dismantled there.
3 were sent to Kemble in mid-April, of which one has already been wfu and is now being scrapped, the other 2 were officially in storage, but it was expected they'd be scrapped there. That's now a certainty.
1 was retired in April and flown to the scrapyard at St. Athan, South Wales (just up the road from Cardiff Airport), to be "parted out" and dismantled.

BA have previously retired another 25 earlier B747-400's between 2008/09 and November 2019.
Most of these were sent to the American desert graveyards, with a few others being sent to St. Athan.
3 aircraft were retired last year (one each in January, June and November). These were all sent to St. Athan.

Certainly the end of an era.
BA have operated a total of 101 x B747's over a period of just under 50 years.
57 x B747-400's (from 1989/90 onwards) plus 44 x of the original, earlier "classic" -100 & -200 aircraft (all retired by 2003).


 

nlogax

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Same, managed a return journey in Jan/Feb. Sad to see them go, although in all honesty they had become a bit tatty internally.
Did an upstairs to the US with the return downstairs in 2K back in Feb. Back then I thought it would likely be a one-off opportunity, now it seems I was more right than I realised.
 

Techniquest

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Same, managed a return journey in Jan/Feb. Sad to see them go, although in all honesty they had become a bit tatty internally.
Yeah they were showing their age a bit in places, but with such heavy useage that's understandable. It certainly won't be the same crossing the Atlantic on a 777 or A350 (or indeed anything else) though!

I had been looking a few days ago at a visit to San Francisco in October, and obviously I was preferring to fly BA. I had even looked at going in World Traveller Plus, for the short time I'd be going I think it was less than £800 return (maybe nearer £760) which is not bad really. Obviously, I never booked it and I'm rather glad I didn't now.

I've still not got anywhere near a plan for my next world exploring trip, I'm instead focusing on building up a nice bit of savings first. Nearly done with the rainy day pot, so the holiday fund begins next. In the meantime, I'll be getting a plan made but I genuinely doubt it will be until next year before I fly again.

Not that I don't want to, but I also have a leg injury to finish recovering from (getting there but still some way to go) and I'd rather avoid having credit card debt for years again. So until I'm sorted out I won't be exploring properly.
 

WestCoast

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Defintely sad to see the BA 747 go - in October 2018 I flew across the pond and back to Miami on an unrefurbished example in World Traveller. It was defintely rather outdated on the interior by today's standards but very glad that I got the opportunity to fly one.

It looks like the only airline left in Europe that will fly the passenger 747 is going to be Lufthansa? At least they are one of the few operators with the newer 747-8 so there's a good chance of being able to fly one when things are more like they were prior to this year.
 

Tom Maddox

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It’ll be sad to see the 744 go. The last time I flew on one was probably mid-2000s. Had a great journey back from Hong Kong when I got upgraded to Club World on the upper deck once.
 

gsnedders

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Unfortunately it doesn't look like it'll be possible - although I know for a fact that there has been a viable flight plan on paper with them for the past year or so that has all the waypoints worked out for a 2 hour flight ( = 3 hours block time ) round the UK for just this purpose. It's even been designed to be "reversible" according to the wind direction on the day. It's something they were looking at, but even before the virus struck it wasn't intended to be until at least next year so the planning probably hasn't got to the stage where it could be arranged in a hurry.

Qantas just did three 747 farewells that all sold out in a matter of hours.
Also remember BA stopped training and recency for 747 pilots last month, so we're already a fair way into the 90 day window for recency. It's entirely plausible they won't have any pilots with recent enough experience by the point they'd be willing to organize any farewell tour. I could potentially imagine them perhaps doing a flyover of several cities on the last aircraft's departure from Heathrow (to whatever destination, even if its circuitous), as that'll take much less to organize.
 

heart-of-wessex

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It looks like the only airline left in Europe that will fly the passenger 747 is going to be Lufthansa? At least they are one of the few operators with the newer 747-8 so there's a good chance of being able to fly one when things are more like they were prior to this year.
Looking at the Freebird Database, pretty much will be Lufthansa yes.

Wamos Air still has one based in Spain, but getting it is somewhat of a lottery, seeing as it works ad-hoc charters, like repatriation flights, providing cover etc etc.

Even outside of Europe it looks pretty thin, some Thai and an Air India 747-400 still active, and some Air China -400's and -800's and Korean -800s, that's pretty much about it I think.

Lots of 747-400F's to enjoy, hope to see these again soon just to at least cling on to the sights of a -400, need to go back to Schiphol for these, or visit Liege!
 

Butts

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Had what I consider to be a lucky break on my next "fag run" to Luxembourg from Edinburgh via London Heathrow in early August.

The last return leg from LHR to EDI has been cancelled so I had to rebook on an alternative service to get me back up to Scotland.

Rather than hanging about for hours at LHR I decided to take the option of going from London City instead - and I can't believe my luck it's an Embraer 195

Takes me back to Flybe Days, although I seem to remember BA's are more advanced than Flybes were.


While I'm on I'd like to give a bit of praise to Easyjet and their flexible booking conditions at the moment. For various reasons I have had to alter a number of domestic bookings for later in the year. As long as you do this 14 days before and the fare is no more it costs zilch. Most of mine have been free with an extra fiver for one flight. I have moved all my bookings to /from Edinburgh rather than Glasgow.

The costs are probably negligible due to the lack of forward bookings at the moment.
 
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.....Rather than hanging about for hours at LHR I decided to take the option of going from London City instead - and I can't believe my luck it's an Embraer 195

Takes me back to Flybe Days, although I seem to remember BA's are more advanced than Flybes were......
BA CityFlyer mainly operate the Embraer 190, not the stretched 195.
Their 170 fleet has been gradually reduced down from 6 aircraft at the start of the shutdown in March, to just 2 remaining.
Nothing advanced over the Flybe a/c AFAIK.
In fact a third of the fleet is secondhand, with the latest batch of 5 having been previously operated by China Southern.
 

thejuggler

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AerLingus, operated by Stobart Air, have taken on a few of the Belfast services once operated by Flybe. Includes flights from Leeds Bradford from October.
 

Butts

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BA CityFlyer mainly operate the Embraer 190, not the stretched 195.
Their 170 fleet has been gradually reduced down from 6 aircraft at the start of the shutdown in March, to just 2 remaining.
Nothing advanced over the Flybe a/c AFAIK.
In fact a third of the fleet is secondhand, with the latest batch of 5 having been previously operated by China Southern.
I was under the impression they had some sort of technical adaptation that enabled them to Land at London City, whereas Flybes Embraers did not.
 

gsnedders

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I was under the impression they had some sort of technical adaptation that enabled them to Land at London City, whereas Flybes Embraers did not.
It's purely software (plus an associated switch to place the aircraft in steep approach mode). The BA aircraft have a few other differences, but none are essential for LCY.
 
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