During the morning of Thursday 8th October 2020 British Airways will say farewell to its last two Heathrow-based Boeing 747-400s after their decision to retire them with immediate effect due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The two remaining aircraft are G-CIVB and G-CIVY which are painted in the retro Negus and current Chatham Dockyard liveries respectively. As a special treat British Airways has arranged a rarely-seen synchronised dual take off on Heathrow's parallel runways, which will be followed by fly past along the southerly runway by G-CIVY as it bids its home a final farewell. Readers in the UK should be able to follow along on BBC News or Sky News. Non-UK readers can follow along via Sky News' Youtube Channel and British Airways will also be streaming the event on their Facebook Page.
Be sure to flood the British Airways social media channels at 07:47am and 07.47pm on Thursday with B747 pictures and tag it with #BA747farewell.
According to my BA contact, depending on the weather, the approximate timings are:
- 07.40am – Aircraft start to push back
- 08.15am – Engines power up
- 08.35am – Aircraft dual take off
- 08.50am – G-CIVY circle back for a final fly past
They also sent these pictures from the final preparations:
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.
As I mentioned in my nostalgia post I'm not particularly surprised by this decision given British Airways is one of the last airlines to fly the 747-400s. With the global shift towards sustainability and more efficient aircraft, the Queen's days were always numbered.