British Airways has announced it is retiring its entire Boeing jumbo jet fleet with immediate effect.
The move is due to the downturn in travel industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the airline said on Thursday.
Global curbs imposed to stem the spread of the virus led to a turbulence in air travel, placing the future of many airline companies in doubt.
BA is the world’s largest operator of the Boeing 747.
“It is unlikely our magnificent ‘queen of the skies’ will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again,” the company said in a statement.
BA, which is owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group, added that it will operate more flights on modern, fuel-efficient aircraft such as its new A350s and 787s.
It expects such aircraft to help in achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
A wave of restructuring triggered by the virus outbreak is hitting airlines and industrial firms across the world.
BA had reached an agreement with its pilots to sack 350 and another 300 in ‘pool’ for rehiring when needed, the Sun reported last month.
The majority of pilots being ‘pooled’ were expected to be the jumbo jet first officers, according to the report.
Boeing Co’s 747, a plane that democratised global air travel in the 1970s but fell behind modern twin-engine aircraft, marked its 50-year flying anniversary in February 2019.
The U.S.-based aerospace company and its suppliers signalled the end of the plane, when they set the final number of parts it would need for the 747 jumbo jet program at least a year ago.
However, the decision was left in limbo for years amid falling orders and pricing pressure.