British Airways refurbishes more Boeing 747 aircraft

British Airways has begun to refurbish some of its 52 Club World seat Boeing 747 aircraft with new cabin interiors and in-flight entertainment systems.

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British Airways Club World Boeing 747 (Picture by: Stuart Bailey / British Airways)

The Boeing 747 is going to be a fixture at BA until February 2024.

At present, there are 36 aircraft in service, all at London Heathrow. However, there are very sharp differences between aircraft in the fleet.

Refurbished 86 Club World Seat Aircraft

18 of these aircraft operate with 86 Club World seats.

These regularly operate on routes such as Austin, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Fort Worth, Lagos, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Philadelphia and San Francisco. These were refurbished in 2015 with new carpets, seat covers, and cabin lighting.

British Airways Boeing 747 Club World IFE Screen (Image Credit: British Airways)

The in-flight entertainment system was replaced with new screens, a more responsive interface and more content, as well as USB power ports.

It is likely that these will be amongst the last be retired.

Non-Refurbished 52 Club World Seat Aircraft

Another 18 aircraft operate with 52 Club World seats, with the World Traveller Plus cabin positioned between First and Club World.

They regularly operate on routes such as Accra, Cape Town, Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, Nairobi, Phoenix and Vancouver. Many of these aircraft are expected to be retired over the next couple of years.

The state of these aircraft could not be more different. The World Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins are nearly 20 years old. The last significant upgrade was the installation of an on demand in-flight entertainment system in 2006.

2018 Boeing 747 Refurbishment Programme

The refurbishment plans for the 52 Club World seat Boeing 747 aircraft are more ambiguous.

Some won’t be refurbished due to imminent retirement.

The last published fleet plan by BA’s parent company shows that 2 aircraft will be retired in 2018 and a further 3 in 2019.

Some aircraft have already had a minor “refresh” with a deep clean and new seat covers in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus, but no new in-flight entertainment system.

BA has however been planning to carry out a more substantial refurbishment to some aircraft.

The first aircraft to receive a full refurbishment, G-CIVO, was sent to BA’s maintenance base on Cardiff on 7 September 2018.

It returned to Heathrow on Thursday 11 October 2018 and is expected to enter service imminently.

It has been refurbished in line with the 86 Club World seat Boeing 747s with a new in-flight entertainment system with larger screens, new seat covers, carpets and cabin lighting. BA has not yet released press images of the refurbished aircraft. However, these are expected early next week.

It is not possible to predict exactly on which routes refurbished aircraft will operate. However, as non-refurbished aircraft are retired and those that remain are refurbished, the chances are greater.

An update on BA’s fleet plans is expected at the Capital Markets Day of its parent company International Airlines Group in November.

BA to increase Club World seats on some Boeing 747 aircraft

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Boeing 747

BA Club World 2006
BA Club World Cabin – 2006 (Image Credit: British Airways)

Some time ago, we wrote of British Airways’ plans to refurbish 18 of its 40-odd fleet Boeing 747 aircraft. Full details of the refurbishment programme are here.

As part of this refurbishment programme, BA is to also reconfigure the capacity of its Club World business class cabin on these aircraft.

Currently, BA has two Club World configurations on the Boeing 747, with either 52 or 70 business class seats.

The former is a relatively unusual arrangement introduced just under ten years ago whereby World Traveller Plus premium economy is located between first and business class. Although many bawked at the idea at the time, it did allow BA to increase its business class capacity by 8%, which was roughly the entire business class capacity of Virgin Atlantic.

On 6 Boeing 747 aircraft the number of business class seats will be reduced from 70 to 52.

On the 18 aircraft earmarked for refurbishment the number of business class seats will increase from 70 to 86, with an additional two rows of Club World seats.

This means there will be 66 business class seats on the main deck (with the remaining 20 seats on the upper deck). This will make for a very large cabin, so it will be interesting to see how this works in practice.

The number of World Traveller economy seats will be reduced to accommodate the extra seats. The number of First class and World Traveller Plus premium economy seats will remain the same.

The new larger cabin is expected to operate on routes with high business class demand such as New York, Boston, Chicago and Lagos.

NB. We should add we receive a lot of search enquiries about the condition of BA’s Boeing 747 aircraft, so it’s clearly a very live issue for passengers.

What are BA’s plans to refurbish & retire the Boeing 747?

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Boeing 747

BA In Flight Entertainment - Boeing 747 World Traveller
BA In Flight Entertainment – Boeing 747 World Traveller (Image Credit: British Airways)

We’ve received a lot of search enquiries of late regarding BA’s Boeing 747 fleet. We suspect this may be in part due to the condition of some of them! It’s an issue we have looked at previously and we thought we’d cover some of the most frequently asked questions:
Continue reading “What are BA’s plans to refurbish & retire the Boeing 747?”

BA to upgrade 18 Boeing 747-400 aircraft

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Boeing 747

BA In Flight Entertainment - Boeing 747 World Traveller
BA In Flight Entertainment – Boeing 747 World Traveller (Image Credit: British Airways)

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.

Continue reading “BA to upgrade 18 Boeing 747-400 aircraft”

BA’s long farewell to the Boeing 747-400 jumbo

BA is retiring the Boeing 747-400. However, it will still have a presence at London Heathrow for many years to come.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Boeing 747

British Airways Boeing 747 Heathrow
British Airways Boeing 747 Heathrow (Image Credit: Heathrow)

On 11 August 2014, flight BA78 arrived at London Heathrow from Accra in Ghana. For the aircraft operating the route, a Boeing 747-400 (registration G-BNLI), this was its last passenger flight after more than 24 years’ service at the airline (Source: The BA Source.)

G-BNLI is the 11th 747 to be withdrawn from service at BA. This marks a continuation of a process that started some five years ago.

The 747s were initially withdrawn in response to the financial crisis, but more recently to be replaced by more efficient Boeing 777-300s and Airbus A380s which have seen the BA 747 removed from routes such as London Heathrow to Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Sydney.

Continue reading “BA’s long farewell to the Boeing 747-400 jumbo”