BA Retires “Queen of the Skies” Due to Coronavirus

  • This type of aircraft was supposed to retire in 2024, but due to the problems caused by the coronavirus, this plan was implemented earlier.
  • The Boeing 747-400 is the second-largest passenger aircraft in the world, after the Airbus A-380, and its upper floor was known as a club in the sky.
  • The airline has also announced that it will have more flights with modern aircraft with better fuel efficiency.

British Airways has announced that it will be scrapping its giant Boeing 747, known as the “Queen of the Skies,” ahead of schedule due to the coronavirus outbreak and a sharp drop in the number of trips. British Airways now owns the largest fleet of Boeing 747s, with 31 jumbo jets.

British Airways (BA) is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, headquartered at Waterside, Harmondsworth, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. It is the second largest airline in the United Kingdom, based on fleet size and passengers carried, behind easyJet.

The group of international airlines (IAG) which owns British Airways says these aircraft make up 10% of BA’s fleet. This type of aircraft was supposed to retire in 2024, but due to the problems caused by the coronavirus, this plan was implemented earlier.

In a statement, the airline said:

British Airways announces, with great sadness, that its fleet of Boeing 747 aircraft, fondly known as ‘The Queen of the Skies’, are likely to have flown their last scheduled commercial service.

After nearly five decades of service and millions of miles flown around the globe, it is proposed that the airline’s remaining fleet of 31 747-400 aircraft will be retired with immediate effect as a result of the devasting impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector, which is not predicted to recover to 2019 levels until 2023/24.

BA added that “the fuel-hungry aircraft were slowly being phased out by British Airways as they reached the end of their working life in order to help meet the company’s commitment to net zero by 2050.”

Following the Coronavirus outbreak, airlines around the world have been severely affected by travel restrictions, and a sharp drop in the number of passengers has pushed many to the brink of closure.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that airline revenue will be reduced by more than 40 percent this year through passenger traffic. The organization also warns that about 25 million jobs in the industry and related industries may be lost.

The Boeing 747 is a large, long–range wide-body airliner and cargo aircraft manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes in the United States. On July 2, 2020, media reports state that Boeing considers to end 747 production in 2022 once it delivers the remaining jets on order to UPS and the Volga-Dnepr Group.

“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,” a spokesman added. The Boeing 747-400 is the second-largest passenger aircraft in the world, after the Airbus A-380, and its upper floor was known as a club in the sky.

Quality Fuel to Reduce Pollution

The airline has also announced that it will have more flights with modern aircraft with better fuel efficiency, such as the new Airbus A350, or Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and hopes to achieve the goal of flying without carbon emissions by 2050.

The Boeing 747, which helped all segments of the air travel system in the 1970s, celebrated its 50th anniversary in February 2019. Last year, Boeing, based in the United States, announced the end of production of this type of aircraft.

“To think it’s the last time we’ll see a 747 in Australian skies, just about, it’s a very sad day,” said former pilot Philip Beard, who flew for Qantas. “It is fairly emotional, having so many years on the plane, and memories of so many wonderful trips.”

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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