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As the 737 bows out, the jumbo fleet gets a makeover
The distinctive shape of the Boeing 747 has been a British Airways hallmark for many years. And now 18 of the much-loved 747 fleet are being given a new lease of life with a radical overhaul of their interiors.
This includes new seating, flooring and a brand new Panasonic inflight entertainment system with larger screens.
The next generation eX3 entertainment system gives customers a choice of more than 1,300 hours of entertainment including 130+ movies and 400 TV programmes on high-resolution screens, operable with touch and swipe gestures as on a tablet.
The first of the revamped jumbos is already flying and all will be refitted by BA engineers in Cardiff by next summer. They will operate on selected flights to a variety of destinations, including New York JFK, Chicago, Lagos, Dubai, Boston, Riyadh and Kuwait.
Kathryn Doyle, British Airways’ aircraft cabin interiors manager, said: “Our customers love our new aircraft, but the 747s hold a special place in their heart, so we're delighted to have been able to revamp these aircraft. They'll look and feel like new now, with enhanced comfort, technology and design.”
Meanwhile, on the very day that British Airways welcomed its first Boeing 787-9 aircraft (see our plane-spotter’s guide), it also bade farewell to the last of its 737 jets.
The 737 fleet had been an important part of BA’s short-haul operation ever since the first 737-200s entered service for the airline in 1980, replacing the Trident fleet on UK and European routes. The final commercial flight, from Turin to Gatwick, was flown by an all-female pilot team, Captain Christine Scott and First Officer Gillian Tunley. It was also Captain Scott's last flight before beginning her retirement.
She said: “I’ve been flying the 737 for 19 years, and have loved every moment. It's a terrific aircraft to fly and has proved incredibly safe, comfortable and reliable for our customers over the past four decades. I’m pleased that this will continue with the Airbus 320s replacing the 737 on short-haul routes at Gatwick. I can't think of a better way to end my British Airways career.”
British Airways’ short-haul fleet is now all-Airbus at Heathrow and Gatwick, while Embraers dominate at London City