British Airways must abolish its entire jumbo jet fleet with immediate effect, the Daily Mail may reveal.
The country’s standard bearer is the world’s last major operator of the iconic Boeing 747 “Queen of the Skies”, which has been in service with the airline since 1971.
It had 31 jumbo jets in service before the coronavirus crisis forced owners to park the entire fleet at airports across the country.
BA originally planned to remove them by 2024 and gradually replace them with newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft such as the 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350.
But the collapse in the number of passengers forced the airline to present its plans.
A leaked BA letter points out that the flagship plane is one that has “a very special place in the hearts of aviation enthusiasts and many of us” and insists that the plan to withdraw from the fleet early ‘Was only taken in response to the crisis we see for ourselves in’.
Few planes are as familiar as the 747, and in half a century it has carried 3.5 billion passengers and billions of tonnes of cargo across the planet.
Giant has transported half the world
Cemetery: BA 747-400 among planes stored in the California desert
The first Boeing 747 flew in 1969 and a year later, the British Overseas Airways Corporation took delivery of the first UK 747.
The first BA commercial flight with a 747 took place from London to New York on April 14, 1971.
Over the years, 747 have carried 3.5 billion passengers, the equivalent of half the world’s population.
The distance traveled by the Wright brothers on their first historic flight – 120 feet – would fit into the 150-foot economy section of a jumbo.
Boeing has modified approximately 15 of its 1,500,747 for special purposes – including Air Force One and the US space shuttle carriers,
BA was the last operator of Boeing 747 passenger flights at Heathrow.
The aircraft was navigating at 565 mph. However, its top speed of 650 mph means that it remains the fastest of all commercial aircraft.
The 747s are expected to carry 345 passengers, but in 1991 an El Al 747-400 was carrying 1,088 on a single flight, breaking the world record. It was part of an evacuation of the Jews from Ethiopia.
The letter, written in response to growing speculation on social media and aviation websites, admits: “The entire airline community is coming to terms with a bleak outlook on passenger demand.
He adds: “Long-haul travel will take years to recover, with major industry bodies agreeing that we will not see a return to 2019 levels until 2023 at the earliest. “
The colossal four-engine jets will be dismantled and scrapped for parts over the next few months in what will be an ignominious end for the commercial airliner, which has helped make BA the “preferred airline in the world”. world. “
This decision will cause fears for the jobs of more than 600 BA pilots specially trained to pilot the 747-400.
“It’s entirely related to Covid,” a source said tonight.
“We don’t see passengers returning to normal before 2024 at the earliest, and we just can’t predict a time when we will be using this aircraft size again.
“It is a heartbreaking day for everyone at BA and for the customers, it will also be horrible.
“It is one of the most recognizable aircraft after Concorde.
“But this is one of the unfortunate consequences of this unprecedented pandemic. “
The last BA 747 flew on June 2 and was a repatriation flight from Cape Town to Heathrow.
The news comes a few days after Virgin Atlantic announced that it would stop using its small fleet of wide-body aircraft and that no British carrier now operates them.
Few planes are as familiar as the 747, and in half a century it has carried 3.5 billion passengers and billions of tonnes of cargo around the planet.
But now he has become a symbolic victim of the aviation industry crisis following the global coronavirus pandemic.
A top speed of just over 650mph makes the jumbo the fastest commercial aircraft on the planet, but it is notoriously inefficient compared to newer aircraft.
Landing a 747 at Heathrow Airport costs more than £ 13,000, including nearly £ 4,000 in environmental fares.
BA’s first 747-400 – the variant most commonly used today – was delivered in June 1989. It flew until 2018, when it was sent to a scrap yard in California.
The airline operated 57 Boeing 747-400s, which means that in total, it flew 100 passenger jumbos and a cargo version.
The youngest 747 in the current fleet is 21 years old.
Leak letter to BA employees
With great regret, we suggest, subject to consultation, the immediate withdrawal of our Queen of the Skies, 747-400.
We know there is speculation on social media and aviation websites, so we wanted to clarify our position.
The entire airline community is reconciling with a bleak outlook on passenger demand.
Long-haul travel will take years to recover, with major industry bodies agreeing that we will not see a return to 2019 levels until 2023 at the earliest.
The major part of our fleet is made up of long-haul wide-body aircraft, equipped with numerous high-end seats, intended to transport large volumes of customers.
The unofficial flagship of our fleet, the 747-400 has a very special place in the hearts of aviation enthusiasts and many of us.
We know how many memories of this extraordinary aircraft are shared within the BA family and our proposal to withdraw the fleet early was only taken in response to the crisis in which we find ourselves.