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Britsh Airways refurbishing 18 747-400 aircraft.

If it’s the end of the line for Boeing Co.’s 747 jetliner, nobody told British Airways. The largest operator of the hump-backed icon -- dubbed the Queen of the Skies on its debut in 1970 -- is plumping up seat cushions, hanging fresh curtains and upgrading entertainment systems on 18 planes. Seems they can get a bit more life out of paid-for aircraft and maybe make money doing so. ( More...

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If these birds can get the job done at the right cost point, let them fly!!
BA's examples are well maintained. They have a critical mass for maintenance and operate out of a slot controlled airport where the bigger the better. Never mind fuel still being cheap.

BA's frames are probably cash printing machines at this point.

I think the only other airline in a similar situation is United, but what condition are their 747s in?
Glenal Morean 2
Correct. And owned, depreciated to zero, and no mortgage cost unlike the shiny, new B777-300ERs. Thus with historically low fuel prices, the CASK is not disadvantageous. D check items such as wing spar inspections are the limiting factor. With A380-800, B777-300ER, B777-200ER and B787-8/9, thus well positioned to vary capacity, product and airframe deployed as the fuel price moves.
A plane can fly forever if needed (see NWA and those DC9s) given sufficient TLC/$s.

As long as they aren't unnecessarily deferring the heavy maintenance, the game can continue for a long time. But, as soon as demand drops (or fuel prices rise), they can park them with no tears. I'd love to see that spreadsheet which calculates the go-no-go decision.

Delta obviously has hit a wall and is parking theirs.
djames225 2
WEll said Matthew...I think Delta is parking their's because they have more money than brains...I want to see if I can find the article and which airline is thinking/doing an engine swap out, on some of their 744's, to a more fuel efficient you said the airframes are paid for and an upgrade would be a heck of a lot cheaper than buying new, if maintained well through their life (BA is a prime example)
That is OUR MONEY that they will RISK! They are using Government Backed funding!!!
djames225 1
Which money and government are you referring to?
preacher1 1
Actually, Delta never wanted them nor did thy have any until the NWA merger. They weren't part of their plan, still aren't and I am sure are on the block.
djames225 1
As I said...more money than brains...rather buy shiny, new and expensive than recon great old birds and proudly show their colours
Delta didn't fly to Asia much (at all?) before the NWA acquisition. There was no Delta hub in Narita or Amsterdam. Delta bought NWA for a reason, one was because of these hubs and the fleet that served it. Fully depreciated assets (like BAs) are wonderful things, but if the business is not setup to take advantage of it (unlike BAs), those Delta 747s are best left in the desert.
djames225 1
Or sold to someone who appreciates them and will rehab them...I cringe everytime I look at those desert shots with all that "carnaige"
30west 1
Delta had -30 series DC-9s back in the 1970's. "Delta to Dixie" as the advertising said.
Fuel Prices will be at their LOWEST POINT in over a DECADE in a few Months. As a Former Large Aircraft OWNER, and Pilot... I would think that Rehabbing is the smart thing to do. As these older aircraft fill a need in the smaller markets with out spending $20M+ to buy an aircraft that we already see will NOT have the lifespan anywhere CLOSE to the old favorites!
preacher1 2
There is another article or post in here somewhere that Lufthansa is preparing to strip several down to bare frames and recon them. If all this going on, ain't no real wonder 748 ain't selling.
happy747b 6
Boring 747 remarkable ledgnd of the skies called the Jumbo jet yes it will be around for a long time yet love em
Tyler Cook 0
Boring 747?
Colin Seftel 3
Makes sense while fuel prices are low.
John Teague 3
Nice job.... I need to fly on one of those. I have never flown on a 747.
Good on the pommy's at least there is someone out there who likes there Boeings
It's great to see this good looking airliner continue to show off it's assets. The best flying airplane around. Delta even pulled some 747s out of storage this summer putting off plans to retire the fleet.
sparkie624 1
Sorry to see it go... Guess it is going by the way side with the 727
Jim Kerr 1
The only time I had a chance to fly on a 747-400 was in October 2005, from ORD to Tokyo Narita. Fabulous plane, but the IFE could have been better. It will be an absolute shame when these beauties are no longer flying.
Robin Hicks 1
Qantas has been refurbishing some of its remaining 400s and still flies them on pacific routes and long sectors such as syd jnb
Robin Hicks 1
Qantas has also refurbished several 400s and uses them on pacific routes and other long haul sectors such as syd to jnb
matt jensen 1
I love just about anything with 4 engines on it. 747 is my favourite
it is kind of a nice piece of memorabilia to hear that the "big old bird" is still flying and being maintained for use other than as a cargo carrier..i remember once (I think somewhere around 1972)being at the sacramento California airport and watching pan am do some training touch and go flights with a was impresseive,particularly since I had not seen one fly before..the first one i actually was a passenger on a 747 was in 1976 and it was so different than the other aircraft of that time...
My wife and I used to park at the San Leandro Marina on warm summer evenings, and watch United 747's do the same in the early 1970's.
Frank Shea 1
I am a Delta Diamond member and am very disappointed in Delta's decision take the 747's out of service. I have and will continue to fly BA on routes where the 747 is the service aircraft. I would trade miles for the peace and quiet in the Upper Deck anytime. Bravo BA!!!
Love those jumbo jets how long will they be around
james nyerges 1
This is going back a little, But I worked on the firs 4, 100s that was delivered to BOAC now BA I still love those Airplanes it is a good flying airplane takes a little getting used to initially. It is well liked by Pax & Crew really glad BA decided to keep them going. I know its going to pay off. Fuel prices or not and people will still be able to fly on their favorite airplane.
If you figure the ENORMUS COST for a new Aircraft. And the long (if ever) payback time of the modern (short life) aircraft of today. I believe as a former Pilot believe that Rehabbing and Updating sound aircraft is a wiser and FAR MORE cost effective way to maintain your "BOTTOM LINE"
Herb Fischer 1
Wow! I bid from 727 Captain to -400 F/O at UAL to get the Rating in 1989! Time flies!

The cost of flying an airplane includes interest, maintenance, crew cost, etc., as well as fuel. As a lowly Airplane Driver, I don't claim to have the formula that includes all of these- I also admit to having an emotional attachment to a big hunk of iron that I only flew a couple of hundred hours before moving on to Captain on the 757/767.

With these admissions, it is still hard to put such a workhorse out to pasture. Lots of life left in the old girls without mortgaging the farm to buy a bunch more Plasticjets- pump the Jet A into them, sell the tickets, fly the trips!
I many,many years did the airlines fly the 727 before "retiring" them to the boneyard..the 747 has always been so much more than the dc 10's or l1011's were..somehow looking at a 777 or 767 or the "Dreamliner", just doesnt inspire the old "wow factor"!neither does the airbus...
Bob Smith 1
I flew round-trip ATL-HNL this summer on Delta's 747-400's. Magnificent birds to fly on - smooth flights - The IFE was top-notch too. What am I reading about Delta putting these back in boneyard? Why?
Jesse Carroll 1
Good business plan!
Boeing keeps them going!!...
Just saying..
Richard Tarr 0
Being a regular commuter between LHR and JFK with BA I have to say that yes they are knackered !
On my last trip the toilet was held together with duct tape and the plastic in the cabin looked like a chain smokers gathering had taken place .my requests to BA to establish if they going to be replaced went unanswered .i am trying to stay loyal to BA but my wife now travels seperatly with virgin so this decision is not helping my marriage .!!
With so many daily flights to JFK with high loading I don't understand why BA can't at least put more modern and comfortable aircraft on this popular route .surely an A380 would fit the bill ?
Any of you guys out there have an explanation apart from they are unecoumbered now the payments have finished .
just wondering..the article says submitted 2 years ago, and the responses/comments to this article also say 2 years ago..things have changed a bit in 2 years...this is 2018..
Tyler Cook 1
Hahaha sorry for commenting on and old post and bringing it back :)


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