London (CNN) — Among the usual traffic taking off at London’s Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning was an eye-catching blast from the past — a retro-painted British Airways Boeing 747.
The Boeing 747 — adorned in livery used between 1964 and 1974 — departed for New York’s JFK Airport, as part of celebrations marking the airline’s centenary.
The plane was stripped of its modern-day livery at Dublin Airport earlier this month, before being painted in the vintage British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) design, a predecessor to British Airways.
Large crowds turned out at Heathrow on Monday to welcome the plane, decked out in livery not seen for four decades.
The plane will keep flying in its retro BOAC design until 2023, British Airways said in a statement.
Tuesday’s flight retraces the first route a Boeing 747 took in BOAC colors.
Large crowds gathered at Heathrow to see the freshly-painted plane.
Enthusiasts can continue to follow the plane’s routes across the world using the Flight Radar tracker, which will feature a special icon of the livery.
“The enormous interest we’ve had in this project demonstrates the attachment many people have to British Airways’ history,” said the airline’s CEO, Alex Cruz, in a statement.
“In our centenary year it’s a pleasure to be celebrating our past while also looking to the future,” he added.
As part of the celebrations, last year British Airways took a look back at its 1,200-strong collection of eye-catching vintage posters.
Many of the posters in the book are creations of British Airways predecessors — such as Imperial Airlines, BOAC and BEA.
British Airways, the company we know today, began operating in the 1970s when BOAC and BEA merged.
And BA isn’t the only airline celebrating in 2019.
The Netherlands’ Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij — more commonly known as KLM — and Spain’s Avancia have both been in operation since 1919 and will reach their 100th anniversaries this year, while Australia’s Qantas was founded in 1920.