British Airways, the world’s biggest operator ofBoeing Co. 747-400s, is retiring its entire fleet of the jumbo jets with immediate effect because of the damage the coronavirus has done to air travel.
“It is unlikely our magnificent ‘queen of the skies’ will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again due to the downturn in travel caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic,” the airline, a unit ofIAG SA, said in a statement.
The carrier’s 31 Boeing 747-400 planes, which could sit 345 passengers in four classes, flew to destinations including Beijing, New York, San Francisco, Cape Town and Lagos, until Covid-19 struck and forced the airline to park them. British Airways had planned to finish phasing out the aircraft in 2024.
Thepandemic has devastated the aviation industry, with governments around the world imposing unprecedented travel restrictions to try to stop its spread. Airlines have grounded much or all of their fleets as they recalibrate to the slump in demand. They’re also assessing which aircraft will best suit their needs when the market recovers to pre-virus levels, something that’s not widely expected untilat least 2023.
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