British Airways grounds 747 jumbo fleet early amid coronavirus woes

British Airways has grounded its 31 Boeing 747 jumbo passenger jets four years earlier than planned due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the airline said on Friday.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect,” BA said in a statement.

However, the airline had planned to stop using the 747s in 2024 but brought forward the date to stem losses.

“It is unlikely our magnificent ‘queen of the skies’ will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again due to the downturn in travel caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic,’’ the statement said.

The airline, which had used 747s for almost 50 years, said it would operate future flights “on modern, fuel-efficient aircraft such as our new A350s and 787s, to help us achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

“Boeing plans to end production of 747s in about two years,’’ Bloomberg reported earlier this month.

BA’s owner, International Consolidated Airline Group (IAG), said earlier that it expects the impact of the coronavirus pandemic to last at least three years.

IAG has announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs at BA and defer deliveries of 68 planes.




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