British Airways retires fleet of Jumbo jets early due to coronavirus impact
British Airways is to retire its entire fleet of Boeing 747 Jumbo jets four years ahead of schedule due to the impact of coronavirus lockdowns on air travel.
The Jumbo is synonymous with flying for a whole generation of travellers and has been the linchpin of the airline’s transatlantic routes since 1989.
BA, now part of International Consolidated Airlines PLC (LON:IAG) had planned to retire its 31 Jumbos in 2024 but said the impact of the coronavirus disruption had forced it to bring the date forward.
“It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect,” said the carrier.
“While the aircraft will always have a special place in our heart, as we head into the future we will be operating more flights on modern, fuel-efficient aircraft such as our new A350s and 787s,” it added.
British Airways is still the largest operator of the 747-400 model, but manufacturer Boeing indicated it would stop making parts a year ago.
The airline is heavily retrenching following the grounding of fleets due to the pandemic and has said it needs to cut 12,000 jobs to survive a likely reduction in air travel in coming years.