British Airways' last two Boeing 747 jumbos jets make their final flight from Heathrow

The final two British Airways 747 jumbo jet flights took off yesterday morning from Heathrow Airport.

Although the Boeing 747 will not totally disappear, this marked the beginning of the end for the "Queen of the Skies". BA still has a small number at an engineering facility in Wales and the Boeing 747 is still in operation with airlines including Air China, Lufthansa and KLM.

But the 747 is increasingly yesterday's aircraft. In terms of scheduled flights for Britain's flag-carrier from the UK's main air hub, this was a full stop: jumbos G-CIVB and G-CIVY took with them half a century of aviation and travel history.

Covid-19 certainly hastened the aircraft's demise - BA had planned to keep it in service a little further into this new decade. But the plane's terminal symptoms were already apparent, even without the rows of empty seats which had come to define the experience of flying in this strange year.

Too big, too noisy, too expensive to run (if not at full capacity), too fuel-greedy and too much of a polluter at a time when the world needed to think greener, the 747 had already had its day even before the coronavirus pandemic.

BA was certainly not the first airline to consign the aircraft to the museum and scrapyard. American Airlines sold the last of its 747s in the mid-Nineties. Delta did so in 2017. Virgin Atlantic called time on it with immediate effect in May, as Covid-19 bit.

However, since its first scheduled service took off on Jan 22 1970, many saw it as the aircraft that changed the way the world flew; a revolution with engines that made air travel accessible for all. For 50 years, it was a Pegasus that everyone could ride. It will disappear with a few tears, but a lot of happy memories.

The Telegraph, London

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