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It’s a sad day in the avgeek world.
This morning plane spotters, news channels, and curious souls flocked to various points around London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to get a glimpse of a rare sight – two 747’s being retired for good.
While some airlines had planned to slowly phase out older aircraft over the next few years, the decimation of customer demand caused by COVID-19 has accelerated some plane retirements. In other words, some of the most iconic aircraft are being placed in the junkyard never to carry passengers again quickly.
Despite wind, fog and rain, the airline (short for cash so understandably) arranged a final departure with minimal fanfare.
The first 747 (G-CIVB) was painted in a retro ‘Negus’ livery, while the other 747 (G-CIVY) sported BA’s current (and most recognizable) ‘Chatham Dockyard’ livery.
British Airways was once the largest operator of the Boeing 747 with 50+ in its fleet but today’s send-off will bring a nearly 50-year era to an end.
Both ‘Queen of the Skies’ were already due to be retired by 2024, but similar to most airlines, the current pandemic placed the plane on the fast-track to being scrapped and replaced by more fuel-efficient planes like the Airbus A350’s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
If you weren’t awake this morning at 8:30 AM London local time (3:30 AM EST), below is an extremely long play-by-play.
If you want TL;DR version, the 1 hour, 2 minute mark is where you should start…
Although it’s an end of an era for these two BA 747s, I’m still on my Operation Queen quest and I won’t be denied. 🤣
Admit it…did you shed a thug tear for these departures? 😢
Cover Photo Credit: British Airways