Unlike other airlines, British Airways has avoided revealing the future of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 aircraft fleet, but information shared by a pilot hints that the fate of the Boeing model may be retirement. According to the employee, British Airways on Friday suspended all training and recency of more than 600 pilots qualified to fly the 747.
The information can be interpreted in several ways, but the most likely is that the British flag company may have already decided to take out of service its 28 Boeing 747-400, the largest fleet in the world used to transport passengers today.
With an average age of 23 years, BA’s “Jumbos” will be replaced by the Boeing 777-9, the new generation of the largest twin-engine jet in the world, however, this should only occur in 2024.
The coronavirus pandemic, however, affected the aircraft’s phase out plans, which have been taken out of service since last year. Still, British Airways planned to retrofit 18 of these planes, something that should certainly be under review due to the high cost of operating the Boeing jet.
Currently, its 747-400 are stored in several places like Heathrow, Cardiff and Teruel, awaiting the unlikely full resumption of demand for long-haul passenger flights.
To complicate the scenario, the British government has demanded since June 8 that passengers disembarking in the UK go through a 14-day quarantine, a limitation that has forced not only British Airways but other airlines not to plan to expand the network routes in July, during school holidays.
If the evidence pointed out by the employee is confirmed, it would have been the end of a more than 50-year career for the Boeing 747 at British Airways.