LONDON – Today saw the very last British Airways (BA) flight of its iconic Boeing 747 as it made its final journey from Cardiff Airport (CWL) to its new home at eCube Solutions in the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales, where it will be preserved to inspire future generations.

Wrapped in the BOAC retro ‘Gold Speedbird’ livery to mark BA’ centenary in 2019, the Boeing 747, registered under G-BYGC, took to the air one last time from BA’s engineering base at CWL as flight BA747P, where it was waved off by engineers who for many years have maintained BA’s Boeing 747 fleet.

Photo: British Airways

The Last Flight

The aircraft flew around this scenic area of the Welsh coast before landing at the commercial airfield at Bro Tathan, the Welsh Government’s 1,200 acres business park in the Vale of Glamorgan. There, the Boeing 747 was met by an audience of invited guests including BA cabin crew.

G-BYGC will be managed by eCube Solutions, the leading aircraft disassembly and end-of-life services provider based on the business park. According BA, since entering the BA fleet on 20 January 1999, G-BYGC has operated 11,049 flights and flown for 91,023 hours over nearly 45 million miles.

Photo: British Airways

Its last passenger flight was from San Francisco to London Heathrow (LHR) on April 4, 2020. The retirement of the BA Boeing 747 fleet has been brought forward several years as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The flight crew for this final journey were Captain Al Bridger, BA’ Director of Flight Operations, Captain Rich Allen-Williams, Captain Di Wooldridge and Captain Arun Sharma.

They traveled with a pair of limited-edition BOAC carry-on suitcases created by luxury travel brand Globe-Trotter to commemorate the final Boeing 747 journey. The suitcases were handmade in England and incorporate the iconic ‘Gold Speedbird’ insignia and a fragment from a retired BA Boeing 747 aircraft, thus taking inspiration from the aircraft’s iconic livery.

Photo: British Airways

Statement from British Airways

Sean Doyle, BA’ CEO, said, “This final Beoing 747 journey is a bittersweet moment for the many thousands of BA customers and crew who have flown the world on these Queens of the Sky over the last five decades.”

“But while we will certainly miss their majestic presence in the skies above, knowing our last Boeing 747 will be preserved for future generations to enjoy at a new home in Wales gives us a great sense of pride and is a fitting end to this chapter of BA’ history.”

Photo: Luca Flores

Statement from eCube Solutions

Peter Dunsford, eCube Solutions Managing Director, said, “eCube Solutions is delighted to receive the very last BA Boeing 747. This iconic aircraft has a lot of very loyal followers with fond memories and attachments to the aircraft type.”

“As Europe’s leading provider for aircraft end of life services including component removal, disassembly and recycling, we strive to provide both airlines and aircraft owners with maximum value from a retired aircraft.”

“We can assure everybody that this aircraft will continue to be utilised and enjoyed in many different ways for many, many years to come.”

Featured image: Photo: Nick Sheeder