Could at least four former British Airways 747s live to fly another day?!
British Airways 747s now registered in Bermuda
Last summer British Airways made the decision to retire its Boeing 747-400 fleet effective immediately. At the time the airline operated the world’s largest passenger fleet of 747-400s, with a total of 28 of these aircraft. Prior to the pandemic, the plan was for these planes to be retired by 2024.
The upper deck of British Airways’ 747
It’s no surprise that the airline moved forward the retirement schedule, given that it’s expected that it will take several years for demand to recover to pre-pandemic levels, and the airline also has dozens of new long haul aircraft on order.
The assumption has been that British Airways’ 747s wouldn’t fly again, but we now have reason to believe that might not be the case. Jethro’s notes that four former British Airways 747s have just been removed from the UK aircraft registry, and have been reregistered in Bermuda. The planes in question have the following registration codes:
- G-CIVA, which is a 27 year old 747 that has been stored in Teruel since April 3, 2020
- G-CIVS, which is a 23 year old 747 that has been stored in Teruel since April 3, 2020
- G-CIVT, which is a 22 year old 747 that has been stored in Teruel since April 3, 2020
- G-CIVX, which is a 22 year old 747 that has been stored in Teruel since April 3, 2020
Four British Airways 747s are being registered in Bermuda
What could British Airways 747s be doing in Bermuda?
The first thing to understand is that just because the planes are being registered in Bermuda doesn’t mean they’ll actually ever operate there.
When I heard about British Airways’ 747s being reregistered, the first thing that came to mind is a rumor we saw in September 2020. At the time it was being reported that seven British Airways 747s would be taken over by Rossiya, which is an Aeroflot subsidiary that already flies 747s. However, at the time British Airways denied the rumor.
You might be thinking “well it sounds like these planes aren’t going to Rossiya, since they’re being registered in Bermuda rather than Russia.” Well, 95% of foreign aircraft (primarily Airbus and Boeing aircraft) operating for Russian airlines are actually registered in other countries, given the tax benefits for doing so. And Bermuda is one of the most popular countries for this, with Aeroflot and Rossiya having a significant number of planes registered in these countries.
For example, Rossiya’s existing 747s are registered in Ireland, while the company’s A319s are largely registered in Bermuda.
I’ve been wanting to fly Rossiya for years, so how cool would it be to one day be able to fly with British Airways’ old interiors on a Rossiya flight?!
(Image courtesy of Anna Zvereva)
This is purely speculation, of course, and there are a number of other potential airlines this plane could be going to. For example, Longtail Aviation is a Bermuda-based charter airline, and it already has a couple of 747s. Who knows, maybe the airline is looking for some more.
Four British Airways 747s are being registered in Bermuda. That’s all we know as of now, so it’s anyone’s guess what ends up happening to these planes. Personally I think the Rossiya explanation is the most likely, given the strong rumors last year, as well as the extent to which Russian airlines register planes in Bermuda.
Here’s to hoping that these beautiful jumbo jets have some flight hours left in them. I’ll keep an eye on this, and if there are any updates I’ll be sure to share them.
What do you make of British Airways 747s being registered in Bermuda?