British Airways abruptly retired its fleet of Boeing 747-400 aircraft over the summer, blaming COVID-19. But the newly-installed CEO now touts the decision as a huge boost to British Airways’ sustainability efforts.
British Airways Defends 747 Retirement
Speaking at the UK Royal Aeronautical Society’s Climate Change Conference, newly-installed CEO Sean Doyle defended the carrier’s decision to retire its fleet of 32 747s:
“That’s 32 older aircraft leaving British Airways, being replaced by modern 787 and A350 variants, and that’s an advancement of our sustainability commitment over the Covid crisis that we’re excited about.”
The new aircraft will serve as “a huge enabler of more efficient operations in terms of CO2 per kilometer travelled” Doyle explained.
Doyle reiterated the aspirations of British Airways to be a “carbon net zero by 2050” and added that there is no “silver bullet” and achieving that goal will require “many dimensions” of action.
More longterm solution including hybrid, battery, and hydrogen are not near-term solutions but likely will not come online until at 2040 at the earliest.
I Still Miss The Boeing 747…
Steeped in nostalgia and curvaceous beauty, the Queen of the Skies remains my favorite aircraft. The 747 has been a sad casualty of the pandemic. Several airlines have retired their 747-400s this year, but none had a fleet depth like British Airways…32 airliners.
While the next-generation of longhaul aircraft, including the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350, are beautiful in their own respect, the upper deck and beautiful downstairs forward cabin in the Queen’s nose were something very special.
It’s understandable that British Airways would want to put a positive spin on its 747 retirement. But it must also be mentioned BA recently retrofitted these aircraft and had no short-term plans to retire them prior to the pandemic. It was not environmental altruism but the sad reality of reduced demand that led to the early exit of the 747.
As British Airways defends its 747 retirement, are you happy to see the aircraft go?
> Read More: Farewell Photo Tour: British Airways 747-400
image: British Airways