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British Airways & 747 Future Together?

Sat Feb 12, 2005 5:01 pm

I understand that British Airway's fleet of 747-400s is no longer expanding, but I was wondering what kind of future the 747 has with British Airways? How many does the airline currently operate? Also, IF the 747Adv is launched, will they order it?
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RE: British Airways & 747 Future Together?

Sun Feb 13, 2005 3:23 am

BA are not ordering any aircraft, and won't be until a 767 replacement is required from around 2010.
After that, attention will turn to the older 747-436's, if BA see the need to have a direct replacement, which they probably will, at the moment it has to be A380.

Unless 747adv has been launched and given BA's policy now of not being a launch customer, it will have had to have been by plenty of others by then, we are assuming here it will be launched?
(Sorry if it that seems odd, but we've been here before in 1996/7 and in 2001, noises from Boeing about upgrading the 747 followed by.......nothing).

Boeing can, as they did recently, send as many reps to BA to talk about 747adv as they like, BA won't be a launch customer for it or any other type.
Both planemakers send these people to keep BA abreast of developments anyway.

Personally, despite service entry for any BA 747 replacement being probably a decade away, I think A380 has to have the edge, LHR is a crowded place, most of BA's competitors, apart from US carriers, on long haul will have them too.
But BA is in no hurry, they happily operated 747-136's right up to 1999, when some were nearly 30 years old.

Now a launched B747adv might have a place in BA's fleet, for routes when an increase in seats is not required, or just a small increase, but if BA sees the need for a bigger expansion of seats on some routes (probably not N.American ones though where frequency will be more important), then A380 has the edge, assuming a period of stability and good profitability over years for BA, you might see both types eventually in BA's fleet.
(If BA picks 787 as a 767 replacement, and 747adv has similar engines and other areas in common with 787, that will help Boeing)

Many of BA's 747-436 fleet are much younger than the initial batch delivered from 1989 as well.
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RE: British Airways & 747 Future Together?

Sun Feb 13, 2005 4:39 am

BA's current policy is not to be a launch customer for a new type, but don't forget they got a new Chairman last year in Martin Broughton, plus Rod Eddington could be heading back to Australia later this year. Not saying policy at BA will change, but with a new team in charge at the top BA might be tempted by a 747 ADV if Boeing launched it, pitched it well and offered BA a good deal.

You're right GDB that many of BA's 747s are younger than the initial 1989 delivered examples, but of the 57 strong fleet 5 were delivered in 1989, 11 in 1990 and 3 in Jan/Mar 1991. 1992-1996 saw 15 aircraft delivered, an average of 3 per year, before deliveries increased again with 6 in 1997, 11 in 1998 and 6 in Jan/Feb/Mar 1998. So the first third of the fleet was delivered between June 1989 and March 1991, while the last third were delivered between September 1997 and April 1999.

Depending which way it opts to go BA could look at ordering around 20 777-300ERs or 20 A380-800s to replace those early 747-400s, but as GDB says this won't be for a few years as the airline's policy currently stands. But again, as I said, with a potential leadership change, BA could change its policy. That would open up several options: -

* A 747 ADV if launched for use on longhaul routes, with mid-life 747-400s used on North Atlantic.
* 777-300ERs to replace oldest 747-400s for use on North Atlantic.
* A380-800s to replace 747-400s on trunk longhaul routes, e.g. JNB, NRT, HKG, SIN, SYD, LAX.
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RE: British Airways & 747 Future Together?

Sun Feb 13, 2005 6:55 am

I can understand BA's reluctance to become a launch customer for a new airliner. But then again, here is one of the worlds top airlines, profitable, with one of the worlds best and lucrative airports to operate out of, in the middle of the pack when it comes to new aircraft.

All Nippon, Thai, JAL, Singapore, Virgin, Emirates et al, all ordering, and ordering big, aircraft orders. And there sits BA doing nothing. What do those other airlines, respected as they may be, have that BA does not?

While I respect that BA wants to reduce their balance sheet, they don't seem to do very well with their fleet rotation. For expample, look at SQ: constantly updating their fleet. Brand new B777ER's, A345's, possibly, likely, 772LR's. And where is BA? just sitting there like a sack of potatoes!

Come on BA.........get your act together and get a little aggressive! Stop taking the back seat to all these "new kids on the block" and show them you have some daring! (Just my 3 cents)!
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RE: British Airways & 747 Future Together?

Sun Feb 13, 2005 8:13 am

BA, get no help from government, direct or indirect.

All those new security measures since 2001, aircraft related ones paid for US carriers by the US government, BA paid themselves.

Chapter 11 protection, again that is available to US carriers, not BA.

More direct bail outs, rarer now, but just last year, basket case Alitalia got yet another 'last chance', how are Olympic still flying also?

BA do not have a 49% sugar daddy like VS has in SQ.

Many of the Far East airlines Scotron mentions get plenty of help too.

BA's average fleet age is today 8 years, no need to go shopping for some years yet, they have responsibilities to shareholders and employees, not just buying new types to keep a few aviation enthusiasts happy.
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RE: British Airways & 747 Future Together?

Sun Feb 13, 2005 8:37 pm

All Nippon, Thai, JAL, Singapore, Virgin, Emirates et al, all ordering, and ordering big, aircraft orders.

Cause others are ordering, isn't a good reason for BA to do likewise. BA will place orders when it suits the airline's needs. Those other carriers might have good reasons to be placing orders and not simply because they are watching what others do.