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British Airways to retire entire 747 fleet after pandemic travel slump

18 Comments
By BEN STANSALL

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18 Comments
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Sheesh. I remember when the propeller driven, four-engined Constellations still ruled the skies. I flew across the Atlantic in one. They were beautiful planes for their time. Amazed me that they flew so much lower than the jet planes that replaced them. They were, also, much noisier in the cabin than today's passenger planes.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It's obsolete.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@1glenn

Ah, you youngsters of the “Constellation generation”!

The Boeing 247 was the crowning glory of the golden days or aviation....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Still a legendary plane. Almost all pilots who have flown them agree, the 747 has no equal as a solid workhorse. Sad to hear they are going (Qantas is also retiring their fleet of 747s) but it is true they aren't so fuel efficient. And if that's the plane of choice for the POTUS, it must check a lot of boxes (admittedly Air Force One is a modified version but still a 747 underneath).

4 ( +4 / -0 )

To some, the B747 may be obsolete. Nevertheless, it will remain a legend. It's always sad when planes retire (this is understandable, though), but ahhhh, the memories.

From a proud Avigeek

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Four engines bad. Two engines good.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Could be obsolet but this is not the end..

The 6th generation of 747, the 747-8 it's bigger, has modern technology and fuel efficiency..

We will ser flying the Queen of the skies for many, many years..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

See*

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Far from obsolete - Many still in the skies and will be for a long time serving the cargo industry. Yes - as a passenger plane, for most routes it has become uneconomical, fuel thirsty and required more maintenance than newer planes, but there was also a reason in the last few years, up to the Covid pandemic that it was still flying. You could pack them in on flights between London and New York for example where demand over the last few years had been at breaking point. BA only last year had refurbished the cabin on 20+ 747's at considerable expense to keep them 'up to standard ' a while longer.You are indeed correct about Air Force 1, and even the upcoming next generation will be a heavily modified 747-8. Two things to remember there, th White House would have never bought a A380 and its still deemed necessary for POTUS's transport to have four engines. Don't quite get the point of that.

To be honest the last time I flew one was on Singapore Airlines a few years back now and it was indeed showing its age - especially in the cabin despite having had a cabin refurbishment . Still, will be missed, and will go down as a true icon of passenger aviation.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Old Lady of the skies.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

 four-engined Constellations still ruled the skies. I flew across the Atlantic in one.

holy cow how old are you?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

BungleToday 01:05 pm JST

Four engines bad. Two engines good.

With four you have redundancy. With only two it is difficult to fly when one shuts down when the engines are spread out on each wing like passenger planes.

Usually the four engine passengers will shut down or throttle down to minimum thrust two out of the four engines at cruise altitude to conserve fuel.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

holy cow how old are you?

that's exactly what I wanted to ask. I think that the last transatlantic passenger propeller flights in Constellations were in the early 60s so that would place him in his 70s at the youngest.

Although I think military use went on later however.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With only two it is difficult to fly when one shuts down when the engines are spread out on each wing like passenger planes.

No. It is not as difficult as you might imagine, and it is something we train for.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Waiting for Dave to appear :)

I'm sure if anyone wants to research ETOPS , and the stringent requirements, then you will find out (along with fantastic pilot training) that losing one engine is not the end of the the world on a modern 2 Pot plant .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

4 Engined planes still have their place - BA may not fly them on passenger routes anymore, but Lufthansa has renewed their fleet with plenty of 747-8's, and 747-400's going out of passenger service will almost certainly find their way into cargo fleets around the world where they are perfectly capable of performing their role with distinction. Carrying high volumes, bulky cargo that can't fit on narrower airliners, tall cargo that only the cavernous nose section can accommodate, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I remember flying from LAX to the NRT stop on the way to Seoul on KAL 747's. It was about the same price as taking a Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka, had smoking section in the rear for us evil smokers back then and the flights seemed almost empty so you could commandeer an entire middle row and make a bed and sleep for about 6 hours.

Flight attendants were great, food was edible and the 747 was (and is) a great plane. It was better than $2,500 one way fare today.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why not re-purpose them as AWACS, flying tankers for the RAF, firefighting planes to be deployed anywhere in the world or as cargo planes? Especially cargo planes to bring in more PPE for British medical personal battling the Wuhan virus on a daily basis?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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