The Red Arrows will join forces with a special British Airways Boeing 747 for a spectacular flypast at the Royal International Air Tattoo on July 20, to mark the airline’s centenary.
The four-engine jumbo jet, which has been painted in the airline’s predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery, will fly with the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team in a mixed formation flypast.
Spectators will have the chance to see the vintage design, which flew between 1952 and 1974, at the airshow that takes place at RAF Fairford.
Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, said: “Flying alongside this British Airways Boeing 747 will be an exciting and memorable moment for both the pilots in the air and those watching on the ground.
"I know the wider Red Arrows’ team have worked hard with British Airways counterparts and Air Tattoo staff for many months to create this opportunity.
"The Royal Air Force’s own centenary celebrations – marked a year ago – demonstrated the importance of using these high-profile occasions to inspire the next generation and we hope this flypast will be another chance to do that.”
British Airways has painted four aircraft in heritage liveries to mark its 100-year-history, the other two featuring the Negus (1974 to 1980) and Landor (1984 to 1997) liveries. Completing the line-up is an Airbus A319 painted to reflect its British European Airways heritage.
Captain Richard Allen-Williams, who has been flying for 17 years and will be in command of the BOAC aircraft on the day, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by how our heritage liveries have been received by customers and colleagues.
"There’s certainly an air of excitement and pride and we’re sure the sight of our BOAC-liveried 747 will provide a wonderfully nostalgic moment for the Air Tattoo audience. I am honoured to fly alongside the Red Arrows at RAF Fairford this summer.”
The airline has a long history of displaying in the Air Tattoo and first joined the flying programme in 1985 when Concorde and the Red Arrows flew together in a dramatic sortie. In the early 2000s several British Airways 747s and 777s performed a flypast, and in 2013, the airline performed with the Red Arrows once again - this time with an Airbus A380, to the delight of the large Air Tattoo crowd.
Andy Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Air Tattoo, said: “The participation of British Airways aircraft in our flying displays over the years have often provided the most memorable aviation moment of the year and I am confident this summer will be no different. I can think of nothing better than to have one great British institution helping celebrate another.”
The BOAC 747’s appearance at the air show is one of a number of centenary initiatives organised by British Airways that are designed to look ahead to the next 100 years of aviation. The airline is also hosting BA 2119 - a programme, which will lead the debate on the future of flying and explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.