British Airways has officially unveiled the first of its retrospective aircraft liveries to mark its centenary year.
One of its Boeing 747s, aircraft registration G-BYGC, has been painted in a BOAC livery.
British Overseas Airways Corporation, BOAC, was one of the two immediate predecessor airlines to BA. It merged with British European Airlines, BEA, before the formation of BA in 1974.
BOAC first operated Boeing 747-136 flights from London to New York JFK in April 1971. BA subsequently ordered Boeing 747-236 and 747-436 aircraft, and the latter were delivered up to 1999.
BA, together with BOAC, British Airtours and British Caledonian, have operated over 100 Boeing 747 aircraft in total, with a peak of 81 aircraft in service by the late 1990s. It is second only to Japan Airlines as the largest operator of passenger Boeing 747 aircraft in the world.
Strictly speaking, this is not the first time BA has unveiled a retro BOAC livery. One former BOAC Boeing 747 had a brief retro livery on one side of the aircraft immediately before its retirement.
There’s no way of predicting exactly on which routes this aircraft will operate. However, as a 86 Club World seat aircraft, it will regularly operate on routes such as Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Lagos, New York JFK, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco. It will fly to New York JFK as flight BA117 on Tuesday 19 February.
This aircraft will retain this livery until its retirement, which is currently planned for 2023, but may well change.
Here is some undated archive footage of a BOAC Boeing 747 from British Pathe.
Here is archive footage of the inaugural BOAC Boeing 747 flight from London to Sydney.