The BA Source
British Airways was officially founded on March 31st 1974 following the merger of BEA (British European Airlines) and BOAC (British Overseas Airline Corporation). However the British Airways Board had been established in 1971 under the Civil Aviation Act (1971) to control BEA and BOAC plus Cardiff based Cambrian Airlines and Northeast Airlines from Newcastle Upon Tyne. All four companies were dissolved on March 31st 1974 and BA was formed.
In 1975 TriStar aircraft were introduced on European routes, BA Shuttle, a no reservation,
walk up, guaranteed seat service on the Heathrow -
In 1976 an act was passed prohibiting British Airways and British Caledonian from
competing on longhaul routes. British Airways and Air France simultaneously launched
Concorde services, BA to Bahrain and Air France on the Paris -
1977 saw a major reorganisation with Operations, Engineering and Planning divisions
formed and commercial operations split into geographical areas. HM The Queen made
her first flight on Concorde with G-
Orders were placed in 1978 for 19 Boeing 737-
In 1979 Concorde begin a service from Washington to Dallas on lease to Braniff International.
BA placed an order for an initial 19 Boeing 757 aircraft, becoming a launch customer
for the new type. The first long range TriStar 500 was delivered, entering service
on the Heathrow -
The new Boeing 737-
1981 saw several Boeing 747-
In 1982 the airline re-
The first Boeing 757s were introduced in 1983, initially taking over UK Shuttle services.
A further 16 Boeing 737-
The Boeing 707 retired from the BA fleet in 1984. The airline become British Airways PLC. A Civil Aviation Authority review this year led to a government white paper recommending that BA should be downsized with many routes being passed to competitors. The final result being that BA’s routes to Saudi Arabia were transferred to British Caledonian in exchange for British Caledonian’s South American network. The elegant “Landor” livery was introduced.
In 1985 the TriStar 500 returned to the BA fleet in the shape of two leased Air Lanka machines that were needed to operate the former British Caledonian South American routes. The Trident was retired from the fleet this year ahead of more stringent noise regulations to be introduced in 1986.
In 1986 the new Terminal 4 at London Heathrow opened with all longhaul and certain
shorthaul services transferring there. An order was placed for 16 of the new Boeing
British Airways was finally privatised in 1987 with shares oversubscribed 11 times
over. The privatised airline rapidly concluded the takeover of British Caledonian
in July that year, adding five Boeing 747s, eight DC-
1997 saw BA and American Airlines submit a joint application to the US Department of Transportation for approval of their alliance. This was not granted but the airlines linked their frequent flyer programmes enabling points earning on each other’s services except those across the Atlantic. Further codesharing was announced between BA and Canadian Airlines. British Mediterranean Airlines became a BA franchise carrier serving routes to the Levant with A320s. BA’s shares in USAir were sold for US$625m and the shares in the Galileo reservation system were sold for US$136.8M. The first Embraer 145 jets were introduced on British Regional services.
In 1998 BA established the low-
The Summer Glasgow -
In 2000 the World Traveller Plus cabin was announced. The first services were flown
with the new Club World flat bed cabin on the Heathrow -
Codesharing agreements between BA and Iberia were expanded in 2001. Low-
Rod Eddington revealed the Future Size & Shape initiative to save £650m in annual
costs in 2001. Services to Nassau and Grand Cayman were increased. 12 BA CitiExpress
regional routes were axed. Codesharing agreements were reached with Finnair and SN
Brussels Airlines. Services to Pheonix, San Diego, Denver, Harare, Lilongwe and Lusaka
moved from Gatwick to Heathrow. BA and American Airlines filed an application for
BA to codeshare on AA services within the USA. Orders for 12 A318s and 3 A319s were
switched to 10 A321s. A fleet re-
2003 saw codeshare agreements with Iberia and Cathay Pacific expanded. The Concorde
fleet was retired. The last flight to land was BA2 New York JFK -
The new North Terminal was opened at London Gatwick in 1988 with all British Airways
services transferring across. The British Caledonian ordered A320s began to arrive
in the fleet, operating from Gatwick for a few months before transferring to Heathrow.
The British Airtours charter arm was re-
1989 saw investment in two other airlines were proposed but fell through. The potential
stakes being a 15% share in United Airlines and 20% in Sabena. Two new types entered
service with the British Aerospace ATP joining the highlands division and the 747-
In 1990 the Boeing 767-
The Gulf War in 1991 lead to 747-
Gatwick based Dan-
1993 saw a watered down version of the USAir investment was approved with BA investing
US$300M for a 19.9% voting interest. BA acquired a 25% stake in QANTAS. BA took over
Plymouth based Brymon Airways in order to form the British Regional. British Asia
Airways was also formed in this year as a way to be able to serve Taipei without
causing diplomatic issues with the Chinese government. British Airways was fined
£610,000 and ordered to pay Virgin Atlantic’s £3M legal costs in a case where BA
was accused of a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign against Virgin which included poaching customers
and tampering with private Virgin Atlantic files. Lord King, who had been chairman
since privatisation, stood down to be replaced by his former deputy Colin Marshall
with Robert Ayling acting as CEO. A new London Gatwick -
US DOT approval was granted in 1994 for codeshare services with USAir to 65 American destinations. Loganair in Scotland became a British Airways franchise carrier operating as British Airways Express. Following the investment in QANTAS the two carriers operations on the Kangaroo route were more closely aligned. Club Europe was launched. Concorde services to Washington were withdrawn. GB Airways in Gibraltar became a franchise carrier operating in BA Livery
1995 saw Manx Airlines Europe become a franchise carrier. Caledonian Airways was sold off along with the final five TriStars. A deal was reached with the US government for further codeshare operations and double daily flights to Philadelphia. Several services to Central and East Africa moved from Heathrow to Gatwick. The Joint Services Agreement (JSA) was signed between BA and QANTAS for services between Europe and Australia with schedules being coordinated and revenues shared. The first Boeing 777s entered the fleet beginning service to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The first two franchise agreements were signed with airlines based outside the UK
in 1996. Sun-