British Airways Announces Its Final 747 Retro Livery, a Throwback to the 1970s

Mar 14, 2019

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To round out British Airways’ year of retro liveries, the carrier’s announced the final paint job to adorn one of its Boeing 747s. The fourth and final design of the heritage liveries will feature the so-called Negus design.

The Boeing 747 in the Negus livery will take to the skies later this month. British Airways will paint the 747 registered as G-CIVB in the Negus livery in honor of the airline’s 100-year anniversary.

Named for its creator, British designer Dick Negus, it was the paint scheme on British Airways’ fleet between 1974 and 1980. It was the first livery following the merger of BOAC and BEA that gave birth to the airline as we know it today.

G-CIVB flew to Dublin Airport last Saturday, where it’ll be repainted before re-entering commercial service. According to, G-CIVB is 25 years old, having been delivered to the carrier in February 1994. After getting the new paint job, it’ll return to its London Heathrow (LHR) home later this month before it begins flying to “long-haul destinations served by the Boeing 747.”

The aircraft will remain in the Negus livery until it’s retired in 2022. BA is undergoing a retirement plan for the remaining 35 747s in its fleet, which will be phased out through the next few years. They’ll be replaced by newer and more fuel-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Airbus A350s and newly ordered Boeing 777-9 aircraft.

This lineup of BA birds seen at JFK in 1978 demonstrates how the Negus livery looked in its heyday on a Concorde (foreground) and a Vickers Super VC-10, with an early-model Jumbo Jet, a Boeing 747-100, between them.

(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Prior to this Negus livery announcement, British Airways had already unveiled three other retro liveries — all of which have reentered the fleet. The others include another 747 with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery, a 747 with the British Airways Landor colors used in the 1980s and ’90s, and an Airbus A319 with the British European Airways (BEA) livery.

The Negus livery was, according to its designer’s obituary in 2011 in the Independent newspaper, an important milestone for BA: “the style he developed, and particularly the use of part of the Union flag on the tailfin, set a precedent for the airline which survived subsequent re-designs and remains in place today.” The airline uses the Negus livery in some branded material still, for example this bag given out to journalists at a recent event.

Image By Brendan Dorsey/TPG

The three retro liveries are one part of an anticipated big year for British Airways. Later this year, the airline is expected to unveil its brand new Club World seat, which will be outfitted on its soon-to-be-delivered Airbus A350 aircraft.

Featured photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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