MIAMI — The much-anticipated news has finally arrived. British Airways will be painting a Boeing 747-400 in the colors of British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), as part of its centenary celebrations.
“The livery from the 1964-1974 BOAC era will adorn Boeing 747-400, registration G-BYGC,” revealed the airline today.
“The aircraft will leave the paint shop in Dublin and arrive into Heathrow on February 18, before entering service the following day. This coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first Boeing 747 flight only a few days earlier.”
This particular 747 (MSN 25823 • LN 1195) was delivered straight from the Boeing factory in January 1999—exactly 20 years ago.
The plane is powered by four Rolls-Royce RB211-524H engines and configured with a
The airline’s CEO, Alex Cruz, admitted that the decision to choose this livery was taken because “So many British Airways customers and colleagues have fond memories of our previous liveries, regularly sharing their photos from across the globe, so it’s incredibly exciting to be re-introducing this classic BOAC design.”
There had been some high speculation on social media about seeing British Airways paint some of its planes in vintage liveries.
Airways tweeted a photo of a British Airways Boeing 767-300(ER) wearing one of the airline’s old liveries in November, asking the airline whether it was possible to see these colors in a brand-new Dreamliner.
The airline replied that “you’ll not hear any arguments against this from us,” noting that the “centenary is next year, so you never know.”
“The 747 has been deliberately chosen for the BOAC livery as it is a later variant of the same aircraft type that adorned the design when it was initially in operation,” said the airline in a statement.
According to British Airways, the BOAC livery will remain on the 747 until it retires in 2023.
“By this time, British Airways will have retired the majority of its 747s,” which will be replaced by 18 A350s and 12 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Even though there had been some high speculation and aviation enthusiasts asking for the new Airbus A350s or even the Boeing 787 Dreamliners to come wearing the airline’s vintage colors, British Airways said that “new aircraft, including the A350, will continue to receive today’s Chatham Dockyard livery.”
The airline notes that more surprises are coming, however.
“The BOAC 747 will be the first aircraft to receive a popular design from British Airways’ past with more details of further designs to be revealed in due course.”
Cruz added that “Our history has shaped who we are today, so our centenary is the perfect moment to revisit our heritage and the UK’s aviation landscape through this iconic livery.”
A Centennial Of BOAC Pride
This Boeing 747 will be deployed on the airline’s most important and iconic routes.
On July 1, 1946, British Airways’ predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), began twice-weekly commercial services between London (Heathrow North) and New York (LaGuardia) paving the way for decades of scheduled operations between both cities.
The first flight was in a Lockheed L049 Constellation (G-AHEJ • Bristol II • MSN 1975), remembered as a symbol of luxury and comfort, besides being one of the most technologically advanced aircraft at that time.
The flight was flown via Shannon and/or Gander, giving passengers a scheduled westbound journey time of 19 hours and 45 minutes.
Since that date, British Airways has always taken pride in sending to the route its most iconic flagships, having the distinction to inaugurate in 1958, the first regular jet-powered transatlantic flight with its DeHavilland Comet 4, thus beating its rival Pan American World Airways Boeing 707 service by just a few weeks.
Through the decades, the Comet 4, the Boeing 707 and later the Vickers VC-10 and Boeing 747 were just some of the aircraft deployed in the route, considered to be the busiest air route between the United States and Europe.
However, the most remembered and cherished Speedbird aircraft on the route is the Concorde, which offered regular supersonic services to New York from 1977 to 2003.