Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet – Down & Out

Earlier this month (08.10.20) plane spotters, aviation buffs and 18,000 Facebook live streamers watched as British Airways’ last two Heathrow-based Boeing 747s flew away for the final time.

The combination of COVID-19, present day global flying patterns and the climate crisis accelerated the airline’s decision to retire its fleet of 747-400 aircraft. The original long-range, wide-body 747s took off in 1969 and were the first planes to be labelled ‘jumbo-jets’. Popular with not only passengers but pilots and crew alike, these unique 4-engine aircraft have been the core of BA’s long-haul fleet for over 50 years. For many, the ‘last take off’ event passed off as a rather sentimental occasion.

Although the Boeing 747 31-strong fleet was due to be phased out by 2024 – due to more advanced eco-friendly technologies coming into play and rendering them environmental hazards with unacceptable noise and fuel consumption rates – their retirement has been brought forward by the pandemic.

Although grounded, die-hards were however, pleased at British Airways’ announcement this week that their final 747 flight, which departed Cardiff Airport {BA1978E} and landed at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, will be used as a commercial film set and training facility.

Furthermore, in time visitors will also be able to experience the ‘Queen of the Skies’ as an historic open-air museum piece. With, in addition, Cotswold Airport, near Kemble in Gloucestershire also hosting one of the retired 747s – as a business, conferencing and private hire venue.

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