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Today, Thursday 8 October, we said goodbye to the last British Airways Boeing 747s as they departed from Heathrow for the final time.

One of the planes then re-joined the final approach and performed a missed approach to give aviation enthusiasts one last chance to see the queen of the skies in action.

The Boeing 747 first joined the British Airways, then BOAC, fleet in 1971. It’s four engines and luxury upper deck signalled a transformation in long haul passenger air travel and thus the ‘jumbo jet’ was born. 

BA 747

Since then, BA’s 747s have flown on key routes such as New York, San Francisco and Beijing, using Heathrow as it’s base for the entirety of its 50 years of service. 

The 747 has been increasingly replaced with more modern aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the A350. As a result, British Airways announced that the model would be retired in 2024. 

However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, British Airways made the decision to retire the planes in 2020. 

BA 747
BA 747

In the same way that the introduction of the 747 ushered in a new era of commercial aviation, its retirement also gives the industry an opportunity to transform aviation in the future through the exploration of sustainable aviation fuels and other environmentally friendly technologies.

3.5 billion passengers have flown in the BA’s 747s since they were introduced in the 1970s and countless other aviation enthusiasts have gazed skyward to appreciate the beauty of the jumbo jet.

The 747 will be missed.  

Share your 747 memories

Get involved by sharing your favourite BA 747 memory with by tweeting #BA747farewell on Twitter and Instagram.

BA 747