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The ‘saved’ British Airways Boeing 747 in BOAC livery may be scrapped

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When British Airways decided to scrap its remaining fleet of 31 Boeing 747 aircraft during the pandemic, four were given a new lease of life.

(We published a fascinating history of the British Airways Boeing 747 fleet at the time which you can read here.)

It looks like one of those four remaining aircraft may have reached the end of the runway.

BA 747 retirement

Of the four aircraft that were saved:

  • G-BNLY, which was painted in the 1980’s Landor livery, went to Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey
  • G-CIVW, which has the current Chatham Dockyard livery, was also given to Dunsfold – these aircraft are being used for TV and film work
  • G-CIVB went to Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire and is being used as a conference and events venue
  • G-BYGC, with the heritage BOAC livery, went to the Bro Tathan business park in the Vale of Glamorgan (a business park with a 1,800m operational runway!)

It is this last aircraft, pictured above, which is now allegedly at risk.

The plan was that G-BYGC would be maintained as a heritage piece by aviation specialists ecube. This aircraft is currently painted in the BOAC ‘Gold Speedbird’ livery used between 1963 and 1974.

According to a report in UK Aviation News, which we have not been able to verify, ecube is believed to be planning to scrap the aircraft for spare parts.

ecube’s core business is breaking up old aircraft for spare parts – and according to its website it broke up 18 of the retired Boeing 747 aircraft.

However, G-BYGC was sold to ecube on the basis that it had a preservation plan in place. It has apparently been unable to secure funding to do this. The original plan was to open it to the public after essential work had been done.

British Airways said at the time that:

it will be maintained as a heritage piece by aviation specialists eCube Solutions [now ecube] to showcase the pre-eminent contribution British Airways’ 747 fleet made to UK aviation.

Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, was quoted as saying:

“While we will miss seeing them grace our skies, we are delighted to have found permanent homes for our remaining centenary 747 aircraft.

“We think they have great historical importance, not only to British Airways but to the entire aviation industry, and we are pleased they will be preserved for future generations in locations in the UK.”

The South Wales Aviation Museum already operates from the same site, albeit under separate ownership, so it would be a shame to see G-BYGC disappear. Perhaps British Airways, now back in financial health, could step in and underwrite the necessary repairs before transferring ownership to the mueseum?

We will keep an eye on developments and let you know.

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Comments (30)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • SteveCroydon says:

    Sounds like it was the intention of ecube all along. Given the number of retired/scrapped 747s in the past couple of years there really can’t be a shortage of spare parts already certified and sitting in stock around the world.
    BA needs to intervene and generate some decent PR for a change.

  • Jeff says:

    BA won’t intervene, they don’t care about heritage. Just look at how they have treated their Concord, compared to others. It’s been left rotting on the threshold of 27 at LHR.
    This jumbo will be razor blades within weeks!

    • Londonsteve says:

      It’s true. It’s a missed opportunity for BA not to maintain a museum unlike many other airlines. It’s phenomenal free marketing and captures the imagination of children who are the future loyal customer base. Clearly the marketing gurus at BA don’t see it that way otherwise we’d already have a BA museum in existence. The fact that there isn’t a BA museum at or near Heathrow, even without any aircraft on site, is a great pity. It could be a combination of museum and customer experience centre, showcasing what it’s like to sit in a Club Suite, for example. Like Mercedes Benz World at Brooklands, it would be a destination for hard up families who are all exposed to the brand in a unique way.

      • Tim Rogers says:

        There actually is 😉 It’s just in Waterside, BA’s HQ. I’m not sure what the arrangements are – if any – for non-staff to see it.

        • Londonsteve says:

          I was loosely aware of that place (and the need to make an appointment to visit). While it would be interesting for an AV geek like me, I was thinking of a much more open access and general interest sort of place. An experience centre that showcases the airline’s past, present and future along with G-BOAB relocated from its scrap metal yard location next to Hatton Cross would make a fine combination. BA would be shocked at the level of interest, many youngsters would become BA fans for life. All for how much? Probably less than the cost of one marketing campaign in the national media. They’ve even got the space at Waterside to make it happen!

  • Paul says:

    The nostalgia for old planes while understandable is simply not backed by people putting their hands in their pockets.

    I myself flew most of my working life in the pointy end of 747’s and I have a fondness for the aircraft. Notwithstanding, there is nothing in this for BA as it would simply be a financial millstone.
    England is I think unique in the world in that it seems to wallow in the past so much of the time, erecting statuary, and general trying to revive halcyon days.
    Move on folks, look forward, dream big, leave the 747 era as a fond memory.
    I’d only add that the wanton vandalism of Concorde ensuring it could never fly again was a outrageous but even that is not history being 20 years ago.

  • Lady London says:

    Sounds a bit like Peel Group acquiring a small airport with land amazingly close to key motorways and intending to continue running it as a struggling airport.

    There may have been no other practicable option that made sense and I take the point someone’s made here about how much history does the UK need to wallow in, in the case of the 747

  • Spaghetti Town says:

    Museum is on separate site to the airfield, across a road. it was part of the airfield at one point.

    Problem is getting the 747 over to the museum (just impossible) and then having the room on the museum site for it.

    • Dubious says:

      If whomever put up the traffic lights at the road junction was prepared to have them temporarily removed (should be possible), then in theory it could be towed over there. Where to put it, as you say, remains a challenge. Perhaps on the grass?

  • MERVYN CROWE says:

    Yes it would be a shame to see YGC scrapped, however economic reality has hit and I very much doubt that BA will cough up the cash to keep it intact.
    Fingers crossed everybody that a benevolent benefactor turns up…soon

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