Sad: Retired British Airways 747 Catches Fire

Filed Under: British Airways

In July, British Airways announced that it would retire all of its Boeing 747-400s prematurely, given the impact that the pandemic has had on air travel demand. The airline had 28 Boeing 747s, which were an average of 23 years old. As any avgeek can attest to, seeing airlines retire this iconic plane is a sad sight. Well, here’s an even sadder sight…

British Airways has stored many of its 747s at Castellon Airport in Spain, which has the airport code CDT. Well, unfortunately today one of these parked 747s caught fire, and it caused some significant damage to the plane.

Firefighters were called to extinguish the fire, and all the planes in the immediate vicinity were moved.

It would appear that the aircraft in question has the registration code G-CIVD (while I’m sure it’s a coincidence, you can’t spell COVID without “C,” “I,” “V,” and “D,” all of which are letters in the registration). #2020

While the registration isn’t visible in the video, the only 747 in the oneworld livery at the airport has that registration code. This particular plane was manufactured in 1994, so it’s about 26 years old.

This plane was flown from London to Castellon on August 18, and has been parked there ever since, preparing to be scrapped. The plane flew its last revenue flight from Lagos to London on April 18.

In late 2018 I flew the other British Airways 747 in oneworld livery from London to New York, but that plane had the registration code G-CIVZ, and the plane is stored in Newquay.

Another British Airways 747 in the oneword livery

I’ll be curious to see if we learn more about what happened here (or since you guys are collectively extremely knowledgable, I’d welcome any insights here):

  • Was this fire caused by an electrical issue, or what could result in a stored jumbo jet catching fire?
  • How much does this decrease the scrap value of the plane?

Sad thing to see, eh?

(Tip of the hat to @bladeclubber)

  1. @Derek It’s clearly Soros’ or Gates’ fault that this 747 caught fire.
    Btw: I’m a professed denier of alcohol, alcohol doesn’t exist. It’s just a hoax and excessive drinking doesn’t kill people. Vodka is like water, don’t believe the lies of the universalists.

  2. Looks like stairs being used on the other 747 in the background, so I guess anything is possible if these planes are still be accessed. #CIVD

  3. It is odd, parked aircraft for storage will have the battery disconnected and no external power applied to the aircraft. If it was getting ready to be scrapped the expensive electrical components and various flight boxes would have been removed to be re certified and used on other aircraft. Mice chewing through wires, arson, firefighter training, curious about what this will turn out to be.

  4. Lucky if the aircraft was still insured this may actually increase British Airways payout. Bet they investigate this fully.

  5. BA, come on!

    If you’re going to burn something for the insurance money, try HQ. It’s going to be demolished in the next few years for that third runway anyway

  6. Given there is a window cut out from the rear of the first cabin, fairly common at the moment as people buy them as home decor, it is possible a cutting lance or saw caused a spark that set the fire given the damage appears to be concentrated above this cut.

    Interestingly there is a message behind the registration as with most BA fleets, the CIV is supposed to indicate 400 in roman numerals C being 100 and IV being 4 (thought this is actually 104 in numerals, the intention is there). This for the 747-400 variant. Other 747s were registered with BNL(X) being Brand New Large and BYG(X) for obvious reasons. Other fleets also have similar messages in their registrations.

  7. @Derek – What aircraft are we even talking about? 747? Ha! 747 doesn’t even exist. It’s a hoax created by Boeing. Oh wait, Boeing? What’s Boeing?

  8. There are quite a few 74s in oneworld livery, but as you say, this was the only one at castellon.

    Also -CIVL at Cotswold, -CIVC/I/K/M/P all at St. Athan (according to the ft retirement thread)

  9. Judging by the intensity of the fire and it’s location, this might be a portable oxygen bottle (or several) igniting…

  10. What happens to the seats? Removed? Sold? Or are they owned by the seat manufacturer and leased to BA? Would love to have one of the first version First seats.

  11. An emergency back-up battery behind module #2 was inadvertently left in-tact, a short circuit between it and the emergency cabin light switches ignited some fabric that was draped over the open access panel behind switches, the subsequent fire consumed the immediate area……….
    well thats my guess.

  12. Looks like someone left the battery switch on and the ovens in the forward galley warmed up and warmed up till things got hot enough to light it off. Nobody bothered to check the inside of plane every so often for just such a situation.

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