By Tom Williams

A huge plume of black smoke was pictured billowing from the front of a ex-British Airways jet at an airport in Spain earlier. 

The fire broke out in a decommissioned aircraft that was in the process of being dismantled. 

It was being stored on a remote stand at Castellón Airport, near Valencia. There were no passengers on board. 

The plane, a Boeing 747, was one of 31 retired from service in August after flying for 25 years. BA had sold it on to a new owner who was taking it apart. 

It’s thought the fire was caused by the aircraft insulation catching a spark from dismantling equipment. Firefighters and airport workers managed to extinguish the fire quickly and there were no injuries. 

A British Airways spokesman said: ​‘Emergency services quickly extinguished the fire on one of our retired aircraft, which occurred during the dismantling process. No injuries were reported.​‘

A statement from the airport confirmed the fire, which appeared to be coming from the cockpit, had been extinguished. 

Local Valencian Government authorities also confirmed the jet had been decommissioned and was ‘destined for scrapping.’ No damage was caused to any other jets because it was parked in a remote location.

The 747 was a major part of British Airways’ fleet for nearly fifty years, with the jumbo jet’s first flight to New York in 1971.

At one point the airline operated 57 of the aircraft. The one that caught fire flew its final flight on August 18, having been used for nearly 26 years since its first flight in December 1994.

The Boeing had flown over 115,276.8 hours and over 50 million miles.

The fuel-hungry aircraft are slowly being phased out by British Airways as they reach the end of their working life in order to help the airline meet environmental commitments.

They are being replaced by modern long-haul aircraft including six A350s and 32 787s which are around 25% more fuel-efficient than the 747.