Among the usual traffic taking off at London’s Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning was an eye-catching blast from the past — a retro-painted British Airways Boeing 747.
The Boeing 747 — adorned in livery used between 1964 and 1974 — departed for New York’s JFK Airport, as part of celebrations marking the airline’s centenary.
The plane was stripped of its modern-day livery at Dublin Airport earlier this month, before being painted in the vintage British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) design, a predecessor to British Airways.
— British Airways (@British_Airways) February 19, 2019
Large crowds turned out at Heathrow on Monday to welcome the plane, decked out in livery not seen for four decades.
The plane will keep flying in its retro BOAC design until 2023, British Airways said in a statement.
Tuesday’s flight retraces the first route a Boeing 747 took in BOAC colors.
Enthusiasts can continue to follow the plane’s routes across the world using the Flight Radar tracker, which will feature a special icon of the livery.
“The enormous interest we’ve had in this project demonstrates the attachment many people have to British Airways’ history,” said the airline’s CEO, Alex Cruz, in a statement.
“In our centenary year it’s a pleasure to be celebrating our past while also looking to the future,” he added.
As part of the celebrations, last year British Airways took a look back at its 1,200-strong collection of eye-catching vintage posters.
This historic hoard has been compiled in a book, “British Airways: 100 Years of Aviation Posters,” published by Amberley Books in association with BA and charting changing travel and advertising trends over the past century.
The book is the brainchild of Paul Jarvis, former assistant company secretary at British Airways and now curator of the BA Heritage Collection.
Many of the posters in the book are creations of British Airways predecessors — such as Imperial Airlines, BOAC and BEA.