British Airways retires entire 747 fleet following travel slump

- A Monitor Desk Report 18 Jul, 2020 | 622 Views|-+
Dhaka: British Airways confirmed it will retire all of its Boeing 747s as it suffers from the sharp travel drop following the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK airline is the world's largest operator of the jumbo jets, with 31 in the fleet.

"It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect," said a BA spokesman.

Airlines across the world have been hit hard by coronavirus outbreak and subsequent related travel restrictions.

"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," the spokesman added.

BA, which is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), said the planes will all be retired with immediate effect. The 747s represent about 10 per cent of BA's total fleet.

It had planned on retiring the planes in 2024 but has brought forward the date due to the downturn.

The British carrier added it would operate more flights on modern, more fuel-efficient planes such as its new Airbus A350s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

It expects them to help it achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Boeing's 747 helped democratise global air travel in the 1970s, and marked its 50-year flying anniversary in February 2019.

A wave of restructuring triggered by the virus outbreak is hitting airlines across the world, along with plane-makers and their suppliers. Thousands of job losses and furloughs have been announced in recent weeks.

Up to 12,000 BA staff, including pilots cabin crew, engineers and ground staff are facing redundancy as the airline slashes costs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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