British Airways Confirms It Will Order Boeing 777-9 Aircraft To Replace Its 747s

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British Airways currently counts 35 Boeing 747 aircraft within its fleet and, while the aircraft is a clear favorite of aviation enthusiasts, its day came and went some time ago.

The 747 may have been the aircraft that spawned the age of travel that we’re living in, it may look great and the top deck may still be one of the most fun places to sit but its an aircraft that’s simply too costly to operate.

British Airways First Class 747

With considerably more economical aircraft being manufactured every day most airlines are retiring their 747s and replacing them with aircraft that can fly for longer while using less fuel and emitting less pollutants into the atmosphere….and British Airways is one such airline.

Earlier today British Airways announced that it has placed a firm order for 18 Boeing 777-9s and taken out 24 options on the aircraft too.

The 18 aircraft are being purchased to replace 14 of BA’s 747s and four of its ageing 777-200s with deliveries/retirements expected between 2022 and 2025.

The British Airways 777-9s will be powered by General Electric GE9X engines and each aircraft will seat 325 passengers across 4 cabins….which means British Airways will be keeping First Class on its 747 replacements.

a plane flying in the sky
Image courtesy of Boeing

Willie Walsh, the CEO of British Airways’ parent company IAG had this to say:

“The new B777-9 is the world’s most fuel efficient longhaul aircraft and will bring many benefits to British Airways’ fleet. It’s the ideal replacement for the Boeing 747 and its size and range will be an excellent fit for the airline’s existing network.”

 “This aircraft will provide further cost efficiencies and environmental benefits with fuel cost per seat improvements of 30 per cent compared to the Boeing 747. It also provides an enhanced passenger experience”.

The Boeing 777-9 is longer and slightly wider than the current crop of 777 aircraft that we’re used to seeing British Airways fly so it will be interesting to see in the airline will use the extra width to give passengers are little more room or if yet it somehow manages to squeeze other seat into every row – let’s hope its the former.

British Airways joins the likes of Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and Lufthansa in placing an order for the 777X and with a “standard range” of 7,600nm there aren’t many parts of the world the airline won’t be able to fly its new aircraft from its Heathrow base:

a map of the world

Bottom Line

Boeing promises that its 777X aircraft will offer a redesigned cabin which will incorporate popular features from its 787 Dreamliners as well as new technologies. The aircraft’s interior is set to offer passengers larger windows and new lighting while, overall, passengers should experience a smoother ride, better cabin altitude, humidity, and sound quality…..but what passengers will care about most is how BA chooses to equip its cabins.

Almost all new cabins that we’ve seen introduced in recent years have taken space away from Economy Class passengers and made flights more cramped and claustrophobic so it would be fantastic to see an airline take the opportunity to give back some comfort to its customers.

Will BA do this with its 777-9? Doubtful….but we can dream.