By Elizabeth Preske
February 20, 2019
Courtesy of British Airways

On Tuesday, Feb. 19, travelers at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) were met by an unusual sight: a Boeing 747, painted in the retro colors of British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), the predecessor to British Airways.

This throwback to the past kicks off a series of festivities British Airways has in store this year, as the airline will be turning 100 on Aug. 25. The new paint job commemorates the livery used by BOAC in the 1960's and 1970's.

The airline unveiled the design — complete with the iconic Speedbird logo on the tail — at Dublin Airport on Monday, Feb. 18.

The BOAC Boeing 747 departed Dublin shortly after 9 a.m., where it flew directly to London's Heathrow Airport. The aptly named BA100 was greeted with much fanfare.

From London, the aircraft took its "first" overseas flight to New York City, where it landed shortly before 11 a.m. on Tuesday. According to CNN, this flight from Heathrow to JFK "retraces the first route" BOAC flew on a Boeing 747.

Related: You Can Do a Wine Tasting or Get a Free Spa Treatment at British Airways' New Lounge at JFK

The celebratory flight came shortly after the 50th anniversary of Boeing 747's first flight on Feb. 9, 1969.

British Airways says the BOAC Boeing 747 — registered G-BYGO — will keep its new colors until it retires in 2023. Likewise, the airline is planning to repaint three more aircraft in retro liveries this year to honor its heritage.

Meanwhile, the airline is planning other major events to celebrate its centenary year, including digitizing its archive, running a "future of flying" program, spending 8.4 billion dollars to refurbish its aircraft and bring in new business class products, and dressing its entire crew in new uniforms by British designer Ozwald Boateng.

To follow the BOAC Boeing 747, you can track its path on Flightradar24.

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