In our look at BA’s retirement plan for the Boeing 747-400 we remarked that many aircraft are beginning to show their age internally and are in need of refurbishment.
The good news is BA has today confirmed a refurbishment plan for its Boeing 747 fleet. But for only 18 out of 46 aircraft.
The refurbishment will include the installation of a new Panasonic eX3 (not currently used by the airline) in flight entertainment system which will offer substantially more choice and better reliability than the Rockwell Collins system currently used on the 747, with up to 130 films and 400 TV programmes on a larger TV screen.
The 18 747s will also have “refreshed” interiors which will include new carpets, curtains and seat foam and covers for World Traveller economy and World Traveller Plus premium economy cabins.
The a World Traveller Plus premium economy seat will also have a universal power socket. The World Traveller economy seat will have a USB jack.
The refurbishment is due to start in August 2015 and is expected to take a year to complete.
Whilst a refurbishment is welcome, it is disappointing that just 18 aircraft are being refurbished when it is expected there will be at least 30 747s still in the fleet in four years’ time. These non-refurbished aircraft will not be in a good state by that time.
It is also disapponting they new seats are not being installed in economy and premium economy as the new premium economy seat (as seen on the Boeing 787, 777-300 and Airbus A380) is markedly better than the current 747 seat which has been in situ for nearly 15 years.
Update: The first of the refreshed Boeing 747s is now flying to New York JFK. The refreshed 747s are also expected to eventually fly to Boston, Chicago, Dubai, Kuwait, Lagos and Riyadh.