Two British Airways Boeing 747s take off from Heathrow for the last time

Known as the 'Queen Of The Skies', few aeroplanes are as recognisable as the Boeing 747, and in half a century it has transported 3.5billion passengers and billions of tons of cargo around the planet. 

But 50 years of aviation history came to an end today as the last British Airways jumbo jets left London Heathrow Airport, with two 747-400 aircraft taking off on a foggy morning before heading to scrapyards. 

The G-CIVB and G-CIVY 747 models had been due to perform a synchronised dual take-off on parallel runways, but instead departed from the same runway separately due to the poor weather conditions.

BA said the G-CIVB model entered service in February 1994 and had flown 59million miles, while G-CIVY had clocked-up 45million air miles having first flown in September 1998. 

The sad end for the iconic planes was witnessed by BA staff and engineers who lined up to see them off at 8.35am, with more than 18,000 people watching a live-stream of the event on BA's Facebook page. 

The Civil Aviation Authority granted special permission for one of the jets to fly over Heathrow at 600ft in a poignant farewell to the airport before they head onto St Athan in South Wales and Cotswold Airport.   

Aircraft G-CIVB, one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, takes off at London Heathrow Airport today

Aircraft G-CIVB, one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, takes off at London Heathrow Airport today

Spectators take images of a British Airways Boeing 747 as it does a flypast over London Heathrow Airport this morning

Spectators take images of a British Airways Boeing 747 as it does a flypast over London Heathrow Airport this morning

A British Airways Boeing 747 leaves London Heathrow Airport on its final flight this morning

A British Airways Boeing 747 leaves London Heathrow Airport on its final flight this morning

Aviation enthusiasts take photographs of a British Airways Boeing 747 as it does a flypast over London Heathrow today

Aviation enthusiasts take photographs of a British Airways Boeing 747 as it does a flypast over London Heathrow today

Aircraft G-CIVY, one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, takes off at Heathrow this morning

Aircraft G-CIVY, one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, takes off at Heathrow this morning

British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, designated G-CIVY, performs a flypast over Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport today

British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, designated G-CIVY, performs a flypast over Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport today

A British Airways Boeing 747 leaves London Heathrow Airport this morning. The retirement of the fleet was brought forward as a result of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on the airline and the aviation sector

A British Airways Boeing 747 leaves London Heathrow Airport this morning. The retirement of the fleet was brought forward as a result of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on the airline and the aviation sector

A British Airways Boeing 747 does a flypast over London Heathrow Airport on its final flight this morning

A British Airways Boeing 747 does a flypast over London Heathrow Airport on its final flight this morning

Aircraft G-CIVY takes off at Heathrow Airport today in what marked the end of an era in aviation history

Aircraft G-CIVY takes off at Heathrow Airport today in what marked the end of an era in aviation history

A British Airways Boeing 747 flies over London Heathrow Airport this morning during its final flight

A British Airways Boeing 747 flies over London Heathrow Airport this morning during its final flight

Aircraft G-CIVY carries out a take off as one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft at Heathrow today

Aircraft G-CIVY carries out a take off as one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft at Heathrow today

Aircraft G-CIVY, one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, takes off at London Heathrow this morning

Aircraft G-CIVY, one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, takes off at London Heathrow this morning

Spectators react after watching the British Airways Boeing 747 do a flypast over London Heathrow Airport this morning

Spectators react after watching the British Airways Boeing 747 do a flypast over London Heathrow Airport this morning

Versions of the 345-seat four-engine aircraft have been in service with BA since 1971. The Mail revealed in July that the airline is to scrap its fleet of 31 747s following a collapse in passenger numbers during the pandemic.

BA bosses are thought to have discussed the possibility of a low-altitude flyover of a British landmark to mark the final flight.

This would have echoed the departure of Concorde, which delighted crowds as it soared over Clifton Suspension Bridge in November 2003.

However, such a stunt was deemed too expensive at a time when BA is facing immense cost pressures. There were also concerns of overcrowding among spectators. 

Although the aircraft are loved by frequent fliers and the wider public, they are notoriously inefficient compared with newer jets such as the 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350.

Captain Al Bridger and his crew at the point when they were ready for pushback on board one of the Boeing 747s this morning

Captain Al Bridger and his crew at the point when they were ready for pushback on board one of the Boeing 747s this morning

The last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, designated G-CIVY (front) and G-CIVB (rear) at London Heathrow today

The last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft, designated G-CIVY (front) and G-CIVB (rear) at London Heathrow today 

Emergency services ‘waving’ the planes off as they taxied to the runways by flashing their lights at Heathrow this morning

Emergency services 'waving' the planes off as they taxied to the runways by flashing their lights at Heathrow this morning

A Union Jack is waved from the cockpit window of one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft this morning

A Union Jack is waved from the cockpit window of one of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400 aircraft this morning

G-CIVY and G-CIVB prepare for the final flight from Heathrow Airport today after the retirement of the airline's 747 fleet

G-CIVY and G-CIVB prepare for the final flight from Heathrow Airport today after the retirement of the airline's 747 fleet

One of the British Airways Boeing jumbo jets being towed out at London Heathrow Airport this morning

One of the British Airways Boeing jumbo jets being towed out at London Heathrow Airport this morning

One of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400s, designated G-CIVY, prepares for the final flight from Heathrow today

One of the last two British Airways Boeing 747-400s, designated G-CIVY, prepares for the final flight from Heathrow today

Captain Al Bridger outside G-CIVY this morning before the British Airways jumbo jet leaves Heathrow Airport

Captain Al Bridger outside G-CIVY this morning before the British Airways jumbo jet leaves Heathrow Airport

One of the British Airways 747s is pictured in the early hours of this morning. Security sweeps for the aircraft began at 3am

One of the British Airways 747s is pictured in the early hours of this morning. Security sweeps for the aircraft began at 3am

Captain Al Bridger and his crew preparing for the flight on board the British Airways 747 aircraft this morning

Captain Al Bridger and his crew preparing for the flight on board the British Airways 747 aircraft this morning

An empty first-class cabin on board G-CIVY this morning before the British Airways jumbo jet takes off at Heathrow

An empty first-class cabin on board G-CIVY this morning before the British Airways jumbo jet takes off at Heathrow

The flight plan for G-CIVY today, which highlights a precautionary diversion to Birmingham, on the way to St Athan in Wales

The flight plan for G-CIVY today, which highlights a precautionary diversion to Birmingham, on the way to St Athan in Wales

The flight plan for G-CIVB which is heading for the scrapyard at Cotswold Airport near Kemble in Gloucestershire today

The flight plan for G-CIVB which is heading for the scrapyard at Cotswold Airport near Kemble in Gloucestershire today

Few aeroplanes are as recognisable as the 747, but now it has become a symbolic victim of the crisis facing the aviation industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A top speed of just over 650mph makes the jumbo the fastest commercial plane on the planet but it is notoriously inefficient compared with newer aircraft. 

Landing a 747 at Heathrow costs more than £13,000, of which nearly £4,000 is in environmental tariffs.

BA's first 747-400 - the variant most commonly in use today - was delivered in June 1989. It flew until 2018, when it sent to a scrapyard in California.

'City of Litchfield': British Airways 747 G-CIVB 

Entered service: February 15, 1994

Retirement date: September 8, 2020

Last passenger flight: April 6, 2020 from Miami Airport to London Heathrow Airport

Capacity: 300 passengers and 18 crew

Engines: Four Rolls-Royce RB211-524G2-T-19 turbofans  

Current livery: Negus

Previous livery: Landor and named 'City of Litchfield'

Flights operated: 13,398 

Hours flown: 118,445

Miles flown: 59million

The jumbo jet's last flight in April was a Miami-Heathrow repatriation service for cruise ship passengers during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2009 at Phoenix Airport, it had to be evacuated via slides shortly after push back, when fumes and smoke began to fill the cabin. Sixteen people were injured with one taken to hospital. The aircraft will now be located at Cotswold Airport in Kemble, Gloucestershire, where it is expected to be scrapped.

 

Advertisement

'Chatham Dockyard': British Airways G-CIVY 

Entered service: September 29, 1998

Retirement date: September 08, 2020

Last passenger flight: March 20, 2020 from Chicago Airport to London Heathrow Airport

Last freight flight: April 5, 2020 from Dallas Airport to London Heathrow Airport

sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more

Engines: Four Rolls-Royce RB211-524G2-19 turbofans

Livery: Chatham Dockyard

Flights operated: 11,034

Hours flown: 90,161

Miles flown: 45million 

G-CIVY takes off at London Heathrow Airport today

G-CIVY takes off at London Heathrow Airport today

Advertisement

A Boeing 747 in British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery on March 19, 1971. The airline, now known as BA, flew its first 747 flight on April 14, 1971 before going on to become the world's biggest operator of 747-400 aircraft

A Boeing 747 in British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery on March 19, 1971. The airline, now known as BA, flew its first 747 flight on April 14, 1971

read more from dailymail.....

PREV NZ election LIVE updates: Jacinda Ardern looks to secure second term amid ... mogaznewsen
NEXT Australian police seize £136m worth of cocaine hidden in frozen fruit products