British Airways - BOAC 747

BOAC is back! No, not really, but perhaps it should be. This simple yet stunning retrojet livery has been rolled out by British Airways to celebrate its centenary which it is enjoying this year. While the aircraft has been much-anticipated by avgeeks across the UK and further afield, the reveal wasn’t a disappointment. Large crowds gathered at Heathrow to watch the arrival of one of the airline’s Boeing 747 painted in the iconic design of its predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).


While just a matter of days ago the (slightly grubby) and tired G-BYGC, first registered in 1999, took to a hangar in Dublin for a fresh lick of paint. Featuring the airline’s heavy premium cabins, it will certainly make most of its appearances on the flagship New York route, but can be seen on other routes across the airline’s network, and tracked on Flightradar.

British Airways - BOAC 747

The design reflects the BOAC livery which flew between 1964 and 1974. Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said: “The enormous interest we’ve had in this project demonstrates the attachment many people have to British Airways’ history. It’s something we are incredibly proud of, so in our centenary year it’s a pleasure to be celebrating our past while also looking to the future. We look forward to many more exciting moments like this as our other aircraft with heritage designs enter service.”

British Airways - BOAC 747

The aircraft is scheduled to exit service in 2023, so there’s a good 4 years for passengers to experience this new (old) livery – which hopefully won’t need any new nacelle covers or radomes in that time to keep the livery intact.


While the Queen of the Skies is certainly the flagship of the British Airways fleet, the carrier will have retired the majority of the fleet by 2023, replacing them with new state-of-the-art long-haul aircraft. This includes taking delivery of 18 A350s and 12 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the next four years – which feature new cabins and are more environmentally efficient – as well as another 26 short-haul aircraft, all part of the airline’s £6.5bn investment for customers.


We have to admit while this is a retrojet, the balance of colour as well as weight and balance of the livery design is exquisite, and there are some learnings here that Lufthansa could have learned from, as after all, all the same elements are here. The bird emblem on the dark blue tail, bold logotype and grey belly were all characteristics of the Lufthansa livery, yet this execution, even though its 50 years old seems more complete and satisfying to the eye than the Eurowhite execution the German carrier has opted for. Bravo British Airways, bravo.

The Big Picture


Posted by:Jonny Clark

3 replies on “British Airways Roll Out A Beautiful 747 Retrojet That Puts Lufthansa’s New Scheme To Shame

  1. It is very nice to see, leading airlines to decide to paint some of their aircraft with their historic retrojet liveries

  2. WOW! Fantastic! Though this iconic livery looked its very best on the much-missed VC10’s (partly because the BOAC lettering was gold and placed on the blue cheat line, thus creating a much sleeker overall appearance), this 747 is now the best-looking jumbo in the sky. Well done, British Airways! And you’re right Jonny; Lufthansa should view this beauty and weep.

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