Last two Boeing 747s in BA fleet take off from Heathrow for the final time

8 October 2020, 08:53 | Updated: 8 October 2020, 11:54

By Asher McShane

British Airways' last two Heathrow-based Boeing 747 planes have taken off from the airport for the final time.

The G-CIVB and G-CIVY 747 models made their way down the runway at 8.30am this morning after the weather allowed them to be given the all-clear.

The jumbo jets, one of which is painted in the BA heritage "Negus" livery, were scheduled to perform a rarely seen synchronised dual take-off on parallel runways but instead departed from the same runway separately.

More than 18,000 people watched the event on Facebook.

The two aircraft will be flying to Kemble in Gloucestershire and St Athan airfield in south Wales, BA said.

It comes following the retirement of the airline's fleet of 747-400, which was brought forward as a result of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the airline and the aviation sector.

The two BA planes took off from Heathrow for the final time today
The two BA planes took off from Heathrow for the final time today. Picture: PA

Enthusiasts and customers are encouraged to share any special memories or photos of British Airways' 747s at 7.47am and 7.47pm using the hashtag #BA747farewell.

The BA planes took off from Heathrow for the final time today
The BA planes took off from Heathrow for the final time today. Picture: Heathrow Airport

Launched in 1969, the planes were considerably larger than existing airliners, with a capacity of around 550 passengers.

They were known by British Airways as The Queen Of The Skies.

The airline once boasted the world's largest fleet of the 747-400 model with 31 aircraft.

The two planes were scheduled to take off simultaneously
The two planes were scheduled to take off simultaneously. Picture: Heathrow Airport

Speaking on Wednesday, Alex Cruz, British Airways chairman and CEO, said "Tomorrow will be a difficult day for everybody at British Airways as the aircraft leaves our home at Heathrow for the very last time.

"We will pay tribute to them for the incredible part they have played in our 100-year history and to the millions of customers and BA colleagues who have flown on board and taken care of them.

"We hope that Britain will join us in sharing their memories with us on social media at 7.47am and 7.47pm on Thursday using #BA747farewell."

The 747 fleet is to be replaced by quieter, more fuel-efficient aircraft as part of the airline's commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The airline expects the last 747s, currently positioned in Wales, to leave the fleet by the end of the year.