British Airways (BA) has reportedly planned to retire its entire Boeing 747 fleet as the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic shrinks travel demand.

With a fleet of 31 Boeing 747s, the carrier is the largest operator of the jumbo jets and initially planned to retire the aircraft in 2024.

A BA spokesman was quoted by BBC as saying: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect.

“It is unlikely our magnificent ‘queen of the skies’ will ever operate commercial services for British Airways again due to the downturn in travel caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic.”

The carrier reveals that it will be focusing on operating ‘modern, fuel-efficient aircraft such as its new A350s and 787s’.

BA has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Last month, BA reportedly entered an agreement with its pilots to dismiss 350 pilots while keeping another 300 in ‘pool’ for rehiring when needed.

The carrier also signed an agreement with trade unions GMB and Unite to temporarily suspend more than 30,000 cabin crew and ground staff as Covid-19 continues to spread.

During the crisis, the airline has operated 134 worldwide repatriation flights across 21 countries carrying nearly 40,000 passengers.

In May, another UK airline, Virgin Atlantic, decided to cut 3,150 jobs across all functions, as part of its plan to reduce costs, preserve cash and return to profitability amid the pandemic.