UK carrier British Airways (BA) has commenced the retirement of its 31 Boeing 747 jumbo jets fleet due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The carrier announced the retirement plan for its entire Boeing 747 fleet last month as the outbreak shrinks travel demand.

The first of 31 aircraft took-off from Heathrow to Spain, Reuters reported.

The G-CIVD aircraft entered service in 1994. It flew for the last time in support of the UK’s repatriation efforts in April.

IAG-owned BA operated 134 worldwide repatriation flights across 21 countries during the crisis. It carried around 40,000 passengers.

The airline also revealed plans to eliminate 12,000 jobs to deal with the Covid-19 impact.

In a separate development, Boeing reportedly planned to offer employees a second voluntary layoff package with pay and benefits.

The offer can be availed by workers in the commercial aircraft and services businesses, as well as corporate functions, the news agency cited chief executive officer Dave Calhoun’s note to employees.

Calhoun was quoted as saying: “Unfortunately, layoffs are a hard but necessary step to align to our new reality, preserve liquidity and position ourselves for the eventual return to growth.

“We anticipate seeing a significantly smaller marketplace over the next three years.”

In April, Boeing revealed that it would implement a 10% reduction of its 160,000 staff by the end of this year.