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A Boeing 747 operated by BOAC flying above the UK in 1971 (photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

BA brings BOAC livery back from dead

A Boeing 747 will arrive at Heathrow from the paint factory in February to enter British Airways’ flight schedules.

British Airways is bringing back “the much-admired design” of its predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) as part of its 100th birthday.

The livery from the 1964-1974 BOAC era will adorn a Boeing 747, reg. G-BYGC, which will leave the paint shop in Dublin and arrive at Heathrow on February 18, before entering service the following day.

This coincides with the 50th anniversary of the first flight of a Boeing 747 just a few days earlier.

The 747 will be the first aircraft to receive the design from British Airways’ past, with more details of further designs to be revealed later in the year.

Planes that get the retro liveries will fly British Airways’ routes, “proudly showcasing some of the popular designs as part of the airline’s centenary celebrations”, BA says.

“So many British Airways customers and colleagues have fond memories of our previous liveries, regularly sharing their photos from across the globe, so it’s incredibly exciting to be reintroducing this classic BOAC design,” says Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO.

“Our history has shaped who we are today, so our centenary is the perfect moment to revisit our heritage and the UK’s aviation landscape through this iconic livery.”

Before retiring
The 747 was chosen for the livery as it is a later variant of the same aircraft type that adorned the design when it was initially in operation.

The BOAC livery will remain on the Boeing 747 until it retires in 2023, by which time BA will have retired the majority of its 747 fleet, replacing them with new long-haul aircraft.

This includes taking delivery of 18 A350s and 12 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the next four years as well as another 26 short-haul aircraft, all part of a £6.5 billion (€7.37 million) investment.

A little history
British Airways’ forerunner company, Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited (AT&T), launched the world’s first daily international scheduled air service between London and Paris in 1919. The British Airways brand first emerged in 1935.

British Airways and its competitor Imperial Airways were merged and nationalised in 1939 to form BOAC, which started services to New York in 1946 and Japan in 1948, among other destinations.

In 1974, BOAC and BEA, which ran the airline British Caledonian, were combined as British Airways, a company that was eventually privatised in 1987.

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