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British Airways: farewell to 747 fleet

British Airways: farewell to 747 fleet

British Airways has been the biggest operator of 747-400 passenger planes, but alas no more, as they plan to retire them all remaining Jumbo’s in their fleet over the next few months, blaming COVID-19.

Formerly with a total of 32 of the Jumbo Jets until some recent retirements, British Airways was intending to continue to fly at least some of them until 2024. Now, it looks like that won’t happen.

First lie-flat business class seat

If you are a 747 buff, you will already know that it was on a 747-400 that BA first installed a lie-flat business class seat, thus revolutionising business class, and the trans Atlantic route. However, its sardine-like layout of the ‘Club World cradle’ soon became outdated as other airlines adopted a more spacious lie-flat layout.

I only flew in BA business class on a 777, with a new generation of seats, and was banned from ever booking these seats on BA ever again by my husband.

2PAXfly Takeout

The aviation industry has a difficult road ahead when it comes to sustainability. It’s going to require a relative revolution in technology, with ‘electric planes’ or hydrogen planes, or some form of jet engine that doesn’t require a carbon based fuel. And that is going to require the development of an alternative to jet engines probably.

It’s a big ask. It will take time to develop.

This move to home grown and manufactured SAF is a first step – maybe even a baby step in a very long road of innovation. In the long run, US$200 million won’t even touch the sides.

It looks like the 747 is another casualty of COVID-19, as this news closely follows the announced retirement of the final Qantas jumbo on 22nd of July, but not before some final joy flights.

I know the plane revolutionised international travel, and indeed was the aircraft of my first international flight, but I have never been a big fan, especially after my most recent experience on Qantas, between Sydney and Santiago.

The Jumbo has been superseded in comfort and style by its more modern daughters, planes like the Boeing 787 and the Airbus 350.

Even its much younger sister, the A380 is on the road to retirement.

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