Much has changed over the past year or so in the world’s aircraft fleets.
As the Covid-19 pandemic hit, many airlines were forced to ground aircraft, and many decided to retire parts of their fleets, or even individual aircraft types.
Today the air travel world is still restricted, but starting to emerge from its slumber. Airlines are putting together new schedules and introducing new routes.
In the case of British Airways, Covid left a lot of their fleet parked up for long periods. Types like the Airbus A321 have not been flown for a long time, with some A319s and A320s being retired.
The airline also famously brought forward the complete retirement of its Boeing 747-400 fleet in 2020.
However, British Airways has also been adding new aircraft. Modern types like the Airbus A320neo, A350-900 and 787-10 are now a part of the fleet to look out for.
Here’s a look at the current British Airways fleet:
Short and Medium Haul
At present around half of the airline’s Airbus A319, A320 and A321 fleets are in service, with the remainder parked up. A number of older airframes have also been withdrawn from use or scrapped over the past year (particularly A319s).
The entire A321ceo fleet is currently parked up, however the new A321neo fleet is active. All of the A320neo fleet is also active.
The Boeing 747 fleet has completely gone now, retired in 2020 to storage and scrapping locations.
Of the remaining long-haul fleet, it is comprised of the Airbus A350-1000, Boeing 777-200ER/300ER and 787-8/9/10. At the time of writing around 15 of the 777-200ER fleet was parked, with all but one of the -300ERs active.
All of the modern A350 and 787 fleet are active, and taking a primarly role in long-haul services for British Airways.
The Airbus A380 superjumbo fleet is also parked up, but has been regularly ferrying between storage in Spain and maintenance at London Heathrow to keep them in top condition. While the capacity of the airliner is excessive for current demand, the airline has indicated that the type will return to service in the future.
The regional fleet operated by the BA CityFlyer subsidiary, based at London City airport, has endured some changes.
The smaller Embraer 170s were sold on earlier this year, and the last remaining Airbus A318 used on the former London City-New York route has also left the fleet.
This leaves a fleet of 23 Embraer 190 jets, of which around half are parked up. Four additional examples were, however, added in 2020, and the airline is seeking to supplement its income with many leisure routes from regional airports while business demand out of London City is still low.
BA’s Future Fleet
Again, at the time of writing it is hoped that the Airbus A380 fleet will return to service on key high capacity routes in the future. Also, as demand rises many of the parked aircraft will be brought back on line.
British Airways has more Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft on order, as well as more Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 787-9 and -10. These are likely to replace older aircraft in the fleet (A320ceo family and 777-200ERs respectively), rather than to expand the fleet, given the current decline in demand.
British Airways’ owners IAG has also ordered 18 Boeing 777-9 (777X) aircraft, which will join the airline’s fleet from 2024.
Whether we will see additional orders will have to be seen.