British Airways bids farewell to 767, is this it for airliner?
With British Airways retiring its last 767-300ER, there is just a handful of airlines that still operate the plane in Europe. But that does not mean that 767s have now disappeared from the skies, as the aircraft remains firmly rooted within the biggest fleets across the Atlantic.
On November 25, 2018, British Airways performed the last commercial flight on its Boeing 767-300ER, retiring the two remaining aircraft the following day. The old 767-300ERs have been pushed out of BA’s fleet by new Boeing 787 Dreamliners and soon to be delivered Airbus A350s.
Since inauguration in February 1990, a total of 31 767-300ERs have passed British Airways’ fleet. The airline briefly operated an earlier version of 767 (the -200) by leasing three of them from now defunct US Air in 1993-1996.
Coming back to the -300ERs, British Airways has the right to be sentimental about the model. It was, after all, the first airline to operate 300ERs with Rolls Royce RB211 turbofan engines.
But only six months after taking first delivery, the airline had to ground its entire 767 fleet. Turned out, the new engines were too heavy for the airliner, causing cracking on the engine pylons, which prompted Boeing to redesign the parts in 1991.
British Airways initially used the 767 for long-haul routes, but “in recent years” reconfigured for short-haul and domestic use.
And rest of the world?
To date, Boeing has received and delivered a total of 687 767-300s in two versions: the original -300 and its extended range -300ER. Making almost half of all Boeing 767 orders, the 300ER is the most popular version of the airliner.
Now, as the last -300s have left British Airways fleet, they are becoming extremely rare in Europe, with just a handful of operators still using them. But on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the model remains firmly rooted in the fleets of three U.S. legacy carriers: American, Delta and United, all of which still have dozens active -300s in their fleets.
The plane is popular across the U.S. border as well, as Air Canada still has over 30 of them, mostly operated by low-cost subsidiary Rouge.
LATAM airlines (across its subsidiaries in Argentina, Brazil and Chile) also remain fond of the aircraft, so do Japanese operators All Nippon Airways and Japan airlines. All of them still have over 30 -300s in their fleets.