LONDON, Aug 17 (Reuters) - British Airways said the
retirement of its jumbo jet fleet will start on Tuesday when the
first of its 31 remaining Boeing 747s takes off from Heathrow
and heads to Spain to be scrapped.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced BA to bring forward the
retirement of the 747, which with its humped fuselage and four
engines is the world's most easily recognised jetliner. The
airline said in July they would all go with immediate effect.
BA's first jumbo to face the scrapyard, registration G-CIVD,
first entered service in 1994 and last flew in April, when
mid-lockdown it flew back from Lagos, Nigeria as part of the
UK's repatriation efforts.
The 747 democratised global air travel in the 1970s, but
fell behind modern twin-engine aircraft and now trails newer
planes in fuel efficiency, making it expensive to run,
particularly during the current travel slump.
BA, owned by IAG, has said it is fighting for its
survival due to coronavirus and needs to axe as many as 12,000
Restrictions on travel between the UK and popular
destinations in the United States and India have wiped out BA's
most lucrative international routes, while demand for European
flights has also waned due to British quarantine rules.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Jan Harvey)