British Airways retires last Boeing 767

British Airways Boeing 767. Photo: © Tobias Nordhausen

British Airways has operated its last flight of the Boeing 767 after 28 years of service with the British flag carrier.

The final passenger flight was from Larnaca in Cyprus to London Heathrow, and was operated by G-BZHA, which was delivered in May 1998. On Monday, the aircraft was flown to St. Athan in Wales to be scrapped.

British Airways operated 28 Boeing 767-300ERs, with deliveries starting in 1990 until the last in June of 1998. The airline has slowly been retiring the fleet since 2013 when the first aircraft to be retired, G-BNWR, was flown to storage in Victorville. British Airways operated the aircraft on higher-demand short and medium haul routes from Heathrow. These included Athens, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Frankfurt and Cyprus. It is to be replaced with A320neo family aircraft, including 10 A321neo. It is possible that BA will utilise the 787-8 on higher density short haul routes once it receives the Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 787-10s in 2019.

History with the airline

The 767 was Boeing’s first twin engine wide body airliner. It was developed alongside the Boeing 757, and the two shared a common type-rating. This means flight crews can operate both without requiring additional training. British Airways opted for the Rolls-Royce RB-211 to power their 767s, and were an option based on request from BA. As such, they were the first customer to receive a Rolls-Royce powered Boeing 767. BA’s Boeing 747-400’s are also powered by the RB-211, as were its fleet of 757s which the airline retired until 2012.

The RB-211 configuration is the least fuel efficient of the three engine options that were available on the 767. However, the commonality with other aircraft in the fleet meant that maintenance costs were minimised. The engine type caused British Airways to ground its 767s early into their life, as the higher weight of the engines caused cracks in the pylons. Boeing eventually redesigned the pylon of the 767 which resolved the issue.

British Airways sold six 767s to Qantas in 2000, until the Australian carrier retired their last 767 in 2014. The British flag carrier also historically operated two 767-200s, which were leased from US Air between 1993 and 1996.

Many airlines world wide are currently in the process of retiring the Boeing 767. In January 2019, El Al will operate its last commercial 767 flight.