British Airways (BA) is the flag carrier and the largest airline in the United Kingdom based on fleet size, or the second largest, behind easyJet, when measured by passengers carried. The airline is based in Waterside near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. In January 2011 BA merged with Iberia, creating the International Airlines Group (IAG), a holding company registered in Madrid, Spain. IAG is the world’s third-largest airline group in terms of annual revenue and the second-largest in Europe. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the FTSE 100 Index.
BA was created in 1974 after a British Airways Board was established by the British government to manage the two nationalised airline corporations, British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, and two regional airlines, Cambrian Airways from Cardiff, and Northeast Airlines from Newcastle upon Tyne. On 31st March 1974, all four companies were merged to form British Airways. After almost 13 years as a state company, BA was privatised in February 1987 as part of a wider privatisation plan by the Conservative government. The carrier expanded with the acquisition of British Caledonian in 1987, Dan-Air in 1992, and British Midland International in 2012. Its preeminence highlights the reach of the country’s influence as many of its destinations in several regions were historically part of the British Empire.
It is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance, along with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and the now defunct Canadian Airlines. The alliance has since grown to become the third largest, after SkyTeam and Star Alliance.
A short history of BA
On August 25th, 1919, British Airways’ forerunner company, Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited (AT&T), launched the world’s first daily international scheduled air service between London and Paris.
In 1924, Britain’s four main fledgling airlines, which had by then evolved into Instone, Handley Page, Daimler Airways (a successor to AT&T), and British Air Marine Navigation Company Limited, merged to form Imperial Airways Limited.
By 1925, Imperial Airways was providing services to Paris, Brussels, Basle, Cologne and Zurich. Meanwhile, a number of smaller UK air transport companies had started flights and in 1935, they merged to form the original privately-owned British Airways Limited, which became Imperial Airways’ principal UK competitor on European routes.
Following a Government review, Imperial Airways and British Airways were nationalised in 1939 to form British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). Continental European and domestic flights were flown by a new airline, British European Airways (BEA) from 1946. BOAC introduced services to New York in 1946, Japan in 1948, Chicago in 1954 and the west coast of the United States in 1957. BEA developed a domestic network to various points in the United Kingdom, including Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.
From 1946 until 1960, BOAC and BEA were the principal British operators of scheduled international passenger and cargo services – and they preserved Britain’s pioneering role in the industry. The 1950s saw the world enter the passenger jet era – led by BOAC, with the Comet flying to Johannesburg in 1952, halving the previous flight time.
Additional airlines began to pass into BEA’s ownership and in 1967, the Government recommended a holding board be responsible for BOAC and BEA, with the establishment of a second force airline, resulting in British Caledonian being born in 1970.
Two years later, the businesses of BOAC and BEA were combined under the newly formed British Airways Board, with the separate airlines coming together as British Airways in 1974.
In July 1979, the Government announced its intention to sell shares in British Airways and in February 1987 British Airways was privatised.
In January 2011 the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) was formed when British Airways and Iberia merged. IAG has since also become the parent company of Aer Lingus, and Vueling and in 2017, IAG launched LEVEL a new low-cost airline brand that operates from Barcelona, Paris and Vienna.
Monday February 18th, 2019 – Large crowds gathered at Heathrow to watch the much-anticipated arrival of a British Airways Boeing 747 painted in the iconic design of its predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).
The aircraft entered the IAC paint bay at Dublin Airport on February 5th where it was stripped of its current British Airways Chatham Dockyard design before being repainted with the BOAC livery which adorned the BOAC fleet between 1964 and 1974.
From the paint bay at Dublin Airport, the BOAC Boeing 747 flew directly to Heathrow on the aptly named BA100 touching down on 18th February . Its next flight on Tuesday February 19th, it departed for New York JFK operating as flight BA117. This flight is particularly significant as it was the first route the B747 flew in BOAC colours.
After this, the aircraft will continue to fly British Airways’ 747-operated routes proudly showcasing the design as part of the airline’s centenary celebrations.
The BOAC livery will remain on the Boeing 747 until it retires in 2023, to allow as many customers as possible to have the chance to see it. By this time, British Airways will have retired the majority of its 747 fleet, replacing them with new state-of-the-art long-haul aircraft. This includes taking delivery of 18 A350s and 12 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the next four years – which feature new cabins and are more environmentally efficient – as well as another 26 short-haul aircraft, all part of the airline’s £6.5bn investment for customers.
Friday February 22nd, 2019 – British Airways revealed the second design in its series of heritage liveries to mark the airline’s centenary – an Airbus 319 painted in the colours of the airline’s short-haul predecessor, British European Airways (BEA).
The announcement came after huge crowds turned out to see the first heritage livery – a 747 in British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) colours – touch down at Heathrow on Monday 18th, with more arriving at the airport the following day to see it depart on its first flight to New York.
The A319, reg G-EUPJ, will enter the IAC paint bay at Shannon Airport where it will be repainted with the BEA livery which flew predominantly on domestic and European routes between 1959 and 1968. However, there will be a significant difference with the replica; the aircraft will have a grey upper wing, rather than the traditional red, to meet current wing paint reflectivity requirements.
It will return to Heathrow and enter service in March flying across the UK and Europe, with the design remaining on the aircraft until it retires next year.
Friday 1st March 2019 – British Airways revealed the third design in its series of heritage liveries to mark the airline’s centenary – a Boeing 747 painted in the iconic Landor design.
The Boeing 747-400, registration G-BNLY, entered the IAC paint bay at Dublin Airport where it will be repainted with the Landor livery, which adorned the British Airways fleet from 1984-1997. Design features include the British Airways coat of arms with the motto To Fly. To Serve. on the tail fin, with a stylised section of the Union Flag. It will also be re-named ‘City of Swansea’, the name the aircraft had when it originally sported the Landor livery. The livery also features the airlines’ centenary logo, which is proudly displayed on all the centenary heritage liveried aircraft.
It will return to Heathrow and enter service later in March flying to long-haul destinations served by the Boeing 747, with the design remaining on the aircraft until it retires in 2023.
All the aircraft can be followed using tracking website Flightradar24, which will feature a special image of the livery.
The Landor, BEA and BOAC heritage liveries are part of a special series to mark British Airways’ centenary, as the airline celebrates its past while looking to the future.
STOP PRESS !
NEGUS DESIGN TO COMPLETE BRITISH AIRWAYS HERITAGE LIVERY SET
Friday March 15th, 2019 – After much speculation, British Airways has today revealed the fourth and final design in its series of heritage liveries to mark the airline’s centenary – a Boeing 747 painted in the Negus design.
The 747-400, registration G-CIVB, entered the IAC paint bay at Dublin Airport last Saturday where it is being repainted with the first version of the Negus livery which adorned the British Airways fleet from 1974-1980, directly after the merger of BOAC and BEA and the formation of the airline customers know today.
When it initially flew, the Negus livery was the first time an aircraft had carried “British Airways“ since 1939, when the original British Airways Limited merged with Imperial Airways to form BOAC. Interestingly, the Union Flag is not present on the side of the aircraft as, like the final BEA aircraft livery, the flag began to be fully celebrated on the aircraft’s tailfin instead.
The repainted 747 will return to Heathrow and enter service later this month flying to long-haul destinations served by the Boeing 747, with the design remaining on the aircraft until it retires in 2022.
The Negus is the fourth and final heritage design to be painted on a British Airways aircraft following a British Overseas Airways Corporate (BOAC) liveried Boeing 747, a British European Airways (BEA) Airbus 319 and a British Airways Landor 747, all of which are already flying.
The special series of designs are being introduced to mark British Airways’ centenary, as the airline celebrates its past while looking to the future. Alongside the heritage liveries, all new aircraft entering the fleet, including the A350, will continue to receive today’s Chatham Dockyard design.
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British Airways Centenary aircraft models available from Flying Tigers
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InFlight 200 New Model Announcements
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White Box New Model Announcements
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Corgi Sale now on !
Massive Civilian Aircraft Sale !!
Visit the Civilian Aviation Sale by clicking on the panel and links below. I have added more than a hundred models into the Sale with some great savings ! Many of these models are only available in very limited quantities … so don’t delay. When they have gone , they have gone for good !
That is all for this week.
The next Hobbymaster delivery is due at the end of next week.