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The year was 1974.

Nixon was President, Muhammad Ali won the rumble in the jungle, Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport was just opening and at London Heathrow, the last BOAC planes were touching down. BOAC, the beloved British airline, was transforming; merging with three others to become what’s known today as British Airways. Fast forward to 2019 and BOAC flies again. In celebration of its 100 year centenary, British Airways has unveiled a retro liveried Boeing 747 in BOAC blue, and retro looks good on the old girl…

BOAC 747
Taken: 18th February 2019
Picture by: Stuart Bailey

BOAC 747

As BOAC evolved to become British Airways, so too did its fleet. The Vickers VC-10 and Boeing 707 were aging, and there was a new flying marvel only just starting to turn heads as British Airways began its modern day operation. That new marvel: The Boeing 747, affectionately now known as the “Queen Of The Skies”. Much like BOAC, it’s an integral part of the British Airways story.

With its distinctive bubble, four humming engines and unmatched elegance, the Boeing 747 has been a beloved feature of the friendly skies for over 50 years now, ferrying British Airways passengers all over the world. From the beloved business seats of the upper deck to the allure of 1A, 1K, the only two first class seats embedded in the nose, it’s an aviation geek (#avgeek) dream. Despite its age, it’s still the fastest passenger jet. To celebrate 100 years, British Airways is painting four retro liveried aircraft showcasing the evolution of the airline, starting with BOAC.

BOAC 747
Taken: 18th February 2019
Picture by: Stuart Bailey

G-BYGC

British Airways registered G-BYGC has just returned from the IAC Paint shop in Dublin with a shiny new swagger. BOAC is back. Before flying onto New York’s JFK International, the plane made a quick victory lap around London Heathrow today where the beautiful new livery was unveiled for the first time, at least since its 1974 retirement! If you want to track the spiffy retro livery, apps such as FlightRadar24 allow you to plug in “G-BYGC” to the search and see where it will fly next.

BOAC 747
Picture by: Stuart Bailey

First Flights

On February 19th the BOAC livery will jet off for familiar British Airways territory, operating flight 117 to New York and return flight 172 back to London Heathrow that same day. Chicago will be the next lucky city to experience the retro liveried 747 as it operates flights 294/295 on February 20th. One thing is for sure: you can’t miss it.

Long live the Queen of the Skies, and BOAC!

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