British Airways bids farewell to B747s at Heathrow

8 Oct 2020 by Mark Caswell
British Airways B747 preparing for final take-off from Heathrow airport

British Airways said goodbye to its final two Heathrow-based B747 jumbo aircraft this morning.

The carrier has been gradually decommissioning its remaining fleet of around 30 B747s since the summer, following the decision  in July to retire the jumbo aircraft as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To commemorate the occasion the final two B747s had been set to perform ” a unique and rarely seen synchronised dual take off on parallel runways”. But unfortunately due to weather conditions this was downgraded to single runway sequential departures.

British Airways B747 preparing for final take-off from Heathrow airport

This was followed by a fly past along the southerly runway by one of the aircraft (G-CIVY in the current BA Chatham Dockyard livery). The other jumbo (G-CIVB) was painted in the carrier’s retro ‘Negus’ livery last year as part of BA’s centenary celebrations.

The airline is encouraging fans to take to social media at 7.47am and 7.47pm today and post their memories of the aircraft using the hashtag #BA747farewell.

BA also said that “Celebrating the occasion in a virtual way to keep spectators safe, the airline will be live streaming moments from the departure on its Facebook page”.

Captain Al Bridger preparing for final take-off of BA's G-CIVY B747 aircraft

Commenting on the news last night 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.”

Business Traveller will add images and videos of the farewell departures and fly past here as they are made available.

British Airways B747 preparing for final take-off from Heathrow airport

British Airways 747 G-CIVB

Date it entered service February 15, 1994
Retirement date September 08, 2020
Popular/recent routes Last passenger flight was April 6, 2020 from Miami to Heathrow
Livery Current livery: Negus

Previous livery: Landor and was named ‘City of Litchfield’

Fact and stats


Operated 13,398 flights
Flown for 118,445 hoursFlown 59 million miles

British Airways 747 G-CIVY

Date it entered service September 29, 1998
Retirement date September 08, 2020
Popular/recent routes March 20, 2020 last passenger flight from Chicago to Heathrow

April 5, 2020 last freighter flight from Dallas to Heathrow

Livery Chatham Dockyard
Fact and stats


Operated 11,034 flights

Flown for 90,161 hours

Flown 45 million miles

Facts and stats:

  • Boeing has been manufacturing 747 aircraft for more than 50 years
  • BOAC flew its first 747 flight on 14th April 1971
  • British Airways took delivery of its first 747-400 in July 1989 and its last in April 1999
  • At its height, the airline had a fleet of 57 747-400s
  • British Airways was the world’s biggest operator of 747-400 aircraft
  • The 747-400 has 6ft high winglets on the tips of its wings to improve efficiency
  • It has 16 main wheels and two landing nose wheels
  • The wings of a 747-400 span 213ft and are big enough to accommodate 50 parked cars
  • The tail height of 64ft is equivalent to a six-storey building
  • The 747-400 is 231ft long
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