British Airways Queens of the Skies are no longer in flight. But aviation aficionados can still enjoy the Boeing-747 aircraft, albeit on the ground.

This month, the last two 747s to depart from the airline’s fleet – G-BNLY and G-BYGC- will leave the engineering base in Cardiff. The pair were among several aircraft painted in heritage liveries to mark the airline’s centenary last year.

a large airplane on a runway

British Airways Landor Livery – Boeing 747 “Queens of the Skies”
Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019

Where can I see Boeing-747s in the UK?

Aviation buffs can find the “Queens of the Skies” in Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Surrey. 

I still remember the launch of the iconic Landor design in 1984. Those were exciting days for the airline industry! Every tiny detail of the aircraft – inside and out – was impeccably planned and executed. Now, the Landor retro-liveried G-BNLY will find a new home at the Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey. The aircraft joins its sister 747, G-CIVW, which was retired in late October. It features the current Chatham Dockyard livery.

Painted in the BOAC ‘Gold Speedbird’ livery used between 1963 and 1974, B-BYGC will travel from Cardiff to Bro Tathan business park in the Vale of Glamorgan. Then, the 747, will be maintained as a heritage piece by aviation specialists eCube Solutions. The aircraft will be showcased, as will the contribution that the British Airways’ 747 fleet made to UK aviation.

a plane taking off from a runway

Landing Aircraft – another one of British Airways’ Queens of the Skies
Taken: March 21, 2019
Picture by: Stuart Bailey

Engineers in Cardiff bid adieu to 747s

“While we will miss seeing them grace our skies, we are delighted to have found permanent homes for our remaining centenary 747 aircraft,” said British Airways CEO Sean Doyle. “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.”

G-BNLY and G-BYGC are the last two British Airways 747s to be retired. G-BYGC was the final 747 to leave the British Airways fleet. The Negus-liveried 747, registration G-CIVB, was made its last flight from Heathrow Airport in October. It found a  permanent home at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire.

Meanwhile, the fleet is being replaced by quieter more fuel-efficient aircraft as part of the airline’s commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In July, British Airways announced the retirement of its fleet of 31 Boeing 747-400 aircraft due to the devasting impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has had a devastating effect on both the airline and the aviation industry.