Return To Cargo

This month see’s the return to cargo operations at BAV, for the first time since 2014. BAV cargo operations ceased in 2014 to mirror BA when it ended its wet lease contract with Global Supply Systems (GSS)

British Airways World Cargo (BAWC) first operated the iconic Boeing 747-400F in 1999 on lease from Atlas Air with a single aircraft, N495MC. This aircraft had the famous Chelsea Rose tail livery. n 2001 GSS was formed and started operations for BA in 2002 with GSS flying a full weekly cargo schedule for BA, as a franchise, from London Stansted. Initially GSS operated th

ree Boeing 747-400F, G-GSSA (previously N495MC), G-GSSB and G-GSSC. These aircraft were on a dry lease from Atlas Air. The cargo flights were flown by GSS crews under BA Flight numbers. These aircraft were flown in GSS livery with BA logo on the nose.

The 747-8F increased cargo capacity for BAWC. The 747-8F can load 34 standard PAX /LD-7 pallets on the upper cargo deck compared to 30 pallets for the 747-400F. In the two lower deck cargo compartments, the 747-8F can load 12 pallets and 2 LD-3 Containers compared to 9 pallets and 2 containers for the 747-400F. The maximum revenue cargo load increased to 133900 Kg from 112990 Kg.

For those that would like to know more about the diverse types of cargo pallets and containers that can be carried it is planned to publish a BAV cargo operations manual later this year.

The cargo schedule is taken from the winter 2010 to 2011 schedule and was chosen as it has several iconic cargo destinations including Hong Kong, Dubai, and Atlanta. The cargo carried by BAWC was very varied. Frequently horses were flown to and from Atlanta loaded into HMA horse stalls with up to 3 horses carried per HMA pallet. These stalls also allowed a flying groom to travel with the horses, on the main deck and would be one of the few occasions, when people travelled on the main cargo deck. Another unique cargo was 1-day old chicks from Hong Kong. Other typical cargo loads from Hong Kong, in addition to electronic goods, included fresh flowers and fish, with clothing and textiles from India.

If you would like to watch a BAWC / GSS cargo flight in operation, Airutopia produced a DVD that follows a flight from Stansted to Frankfurt and then on to Chicago in the 747-8F. It covers start up to close down and has lots of information about both the 747-8F and cargo operations in general, well worth watching if you can get a copy.

BAV plans for the future include, in addition to the cargo operations manual, a cargo operations training Moodle which will include difference training between the 747-400F and 747-8F. It is also planned in May 2025 to change to another cargo schedule from the summer of 2011 which includes flights to Johannesburg and Nairobi.

The return to cargo operations in BAV is a special highlight for me, as I was the BAV World Cargo Manager from 2011 to 2014 and I hope pilots will enjoy flying the cargo routes from this unique period in BA’s history as much as me.


Previous Events