British Airways sent an email to staff late last night confirming its plans to retire its entire fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft. The UK airline is the world’s largest operator of the jumbo jets, with 31 in the fleet.
“It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect,” said a BA spokesman. “It is unlikely our magnificent ‘queen of the skies’ will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again due to the downturn in travel caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic,”
British Airways said it would be operating more of its flights with more modern and fuel-efficient aircraft such as the Airbus 350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, as part of efforts to hit net zero carbon emission targets by 2050.
The decision comes 31 years after BA took its first delivery of a 747-400 plane in July 1989.
It was planning to retire the fleet of 31 craft in 2024 but its end has been hastened by coronavirus.