British Airways is to retire the Boeing 747 with immediate effect.
At this stage it is officially a proposal, subject to consultation with trade unions. However, this appears to be a fait accompli as BA says the aircraft are likely to have flown their last scheduled commercial services.
This follows decisions by Qantas and Virgin Atlantic to immediately retire the aircraft due to COVID-19.
It is hard to overstate the impact the Boeing 747 had on civil aviation, BA, and what its early retirement will have on BA’s route network and profile of passenger traffic.
The Early Days Of The Boeing 747
Pan American World Airways, for whom the Boeing 747 aircraft was designed, was the first airline to operate passenger flights, from New York to London on 21 January 1970.
It may seem strange to think now, but there were doubts as to whether airlines could fill the aircraft with passengers. There were concerns about the ability of airports to handle the aircraft, at the time the biggest passenger jet in service. Both London Heathrow and New York JFK had to implement makeshift arrangements to handle the aircraft.
“All The 747 Needed Was BOAC Service.”
BOAC began passenger flights from London to New York on 14 April 1971 with the bold claim “All the 747 needed was BOAC service”.
It had been delayed by a year, partly due to an industrial dispute with its pilots. Prior to the launch of 747 services, BOAC opened its own dedicated terminal at New York JFK, today known as Terminal 7.
The 747 would be progressively added to many North American routes such as Chicago, Miami, Montreal, Toronto and Washington, as well as South Africa.Continue reading “BA Retires The Queen Of The Skies, The Boeing 747”