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Last BA 747-400 to leave fleet in early 2024

British Airways is aiming to withdraw its last Boeing 747-400 in February 2024 under its latest strategic fleet plan.

The airline remains the largest operator of passenger 747-400s with 36 in service.

But it has been undertaking a replacement of the type with long-haul twinjets – Boeing 777s and 787s, plus Airbus A380s and A350s.

Chief financial officer Steve Gunning, speaking during an IAG investor event on 3 November, said new-generation aircraft were 30% more efficient than the 747s.

He says the airline is expecting a £150 million ($196 million) annual fuel benefit over the next five years.

Half the current 747 fleet will be withdrawn by 2021 and Gunning says the last 747-400 will exit the BA fleet in February 2024.

Gunning's data indicates that a gradually-expanding fleet of A380s, A350s and 787s will reach 71 aircraft in the same year. The 777 fleet would stay at 58. BA is also counting a batch of five mid-haul Airbus A321s in this long-haul evolution.

BA's 777 fleet includes a dozen 777-300ERs plus 43 -200ERs and three -200s. Parent company IAG's capital expenditure plan indicates that the three -200s will be replaced with three -300ERs.

These three aircraft are among over 70 on order, says the airline, including 18 A350-1000s and 17 Boeing 787s, plus 25 Airbus A320neos and 10 A321neos.

BA's short-haul fleet will be modernised from next year with the introduction of 10 A320neo and three A321neo jets.

This article has been updated to clarify the allocation of aircraft by the airline

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