British Airways and Boeing reached a significant milestone Saturday when the airline took delivery of its 50th Boeing 747-400. The two companies and their guests celebrated the special event at the Boeing Delivery Center at Everett, Wash.
The relationship between British Airways and Boeing began in 1941 with the delivery of three Boeing 314 Clippers. In 1956, British Airways placed its first order for a Boeing 707. Over the years, British Airways has become The Boeing Company's largest commercial jetliner customer outside the United States, flying more than 250 Boeing airplanes, including 80 747s. The airline's newest 747-400 will carry up to 426 passengers in a three-class configuration.
"The relationship we have with British Airways is very special. They are one of our most valued customers," said Chis Longridge, vice president - European Sales. "British Airways has achieved tremendous success, and we're proud that the 747 has contributed in part to their great success."
Bob Ayling, British Airways' chief executive, said the Boeing 747-400 has been the backbone of the airline's long-haul fleet. "This magnificent aircraft has revolutionized air transport, making air travel easier and more affordable for millions of people around the world," he added.
Boeing continues to be the leader in building the world's largest commercial jetliner. The 747-400 incorporates evolving technology into one of the most modern and fuel-efficient airliners in commercial operation. Compared with earlier versions of the 747, such as the 747-100 and 747-200, the 747-400 models have lower operating costs, increased range capability, improved fuel economy, more interior flexibility and a digital two-crew flight deck.
Interior improvements, which allow for the quick re-positioning of first-class, business and economy seating, also give British Airways the ability to respond quickly to fluctuating market requirements.
British Airways will take delivery of seven additional 747-400s by April of 1999. Since the delivery of the first 747-400 in 1989, Boeing has delivered 448 747-400s to customers around the world.