Update 15:03 UTC: The registration information of the seven ex-British Airways Boeing 747 aircraft has changed. The aircraft are no longer registered as part of Rossiya Airlines fleet.  

After British Airways retired its entire Boeing 747-400s fleet as a result of the sharp travel downturn, the assumption has been made that jumbo jets would likely be scrapped. However, it briefly appeared that seven of the ex-BA’s Queens were getting a new life at Rossiya Airlines by the end of 2020.

Seven Boeing 747-400 aircraft have been re-registered to Rossiya Airlines, Planespotters.net data showed on September 21, 2020. The Russian carrier appeared to be adding G-BYGA, G-BYGB, G-BYGC, G-BYGD, G-BYGE, G-BYGF, and G-BYGG airliners to its fleet. Previously, the aircraft flew in British Airways colours, including the G-BYGC, which even sported the BOAC (1964-1974) retro special colours.

The average age of these seven Ex-British Airlines jumbos reaches nearly 21 years in service. Currently, Rossiya Airlines has nine Boeing 747-400s in its fleet, two of the jumbos are parked.

If these 16 jumbos are indeed assigned for service, Rossiya Airlines would be the largest carrier in the world to operate the passenger version of 747-400s jets.

British Airways has had 31 of Queens on its fleet and it represented about 10% of British operator’s total fleet. Under the original retirement plan, jumbo jets were scheduled to retire gradually by 2024, because the value of the more than 20 years old aircraft drops steeply due to operational expenses.

However, the air carrier has brought forward the retirement date as a result of the devastating impact of COVID-19 pandemic has had on the airline. In July 2020, the airline announced it was accelerating the retirement process and the whole fleet was scheduled to retire in a few months after the official announcement.

Earlier in July 2020, local British media reported that British Airways planned to scrap its entire fleet of jumbos with immediate effect.