The History of British Airways
Every single year, millions of people climb aboard a British Airways flight and temporarily enter a world of luxury. With a flight crew renowned worldwide for their professionalism and courtesy, British Airways has cultivated a reputation as one of the world’s very finest airlines, and as a positive symbol of British business wherever they fly to. As you read this, people will be boarding a British Airways plane, perhaps going back home, jetting off for a meeting, flying to a new job or just going away on holiday. There are a million reasons to fly, but all these journeys have one thing in common – British Airways. So, how did the company get started?
The story begins in 1924 as Britain’s four pioneering airlines Handley Page Transport, British Marine Air Navigation, Daimler Airways and Instone Air Ltd joined together to form Imperial Airways Limited. Their initial routes were through the British Empire to places like India, parts of Africa and later to Australia. Meanwhile, a number of small UK flight companies had also banded together to form British Airways Ltd. However, following a government review in 1939 into air travel, both Imperial Airways and British Airways were folded together into public ownership to form the British Overseas Airways Corporation and by 1952, the company was the first airline in the world to operate the now ubiquitous jet airliners.
By 1968, the government established a committee to look at both the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, which had launched to fly travellers to European destinations. It arrived at the recommendation that a board be formed and in charge of the two companies, and so the British Airways Board was formed in 1971. By 1974, the two separate airliners were folded into one and became British Airways as part of the largest aviation merger ever, up to that time.
From there, British Airways greatly expanded the number of routes it would fly, taking customers to the likes of America and East Asia, all whilst improving comfort levels for customers. British Airways were also one of two airlines to fly the Concorde, perhaps the most incredible consumer plane ever built. This legendary craft could travel faster than the speed of sound, and shuttled well-heeled customers between New York City and London, before being retired in 2003. It’s record for travelling between JFK and Heathrow was a remarkable 2 hours, 52 minutes.
Head office: British Airways Plc., Waterside, PO Box 365, Harmondsworth, UB7 0GB, United Kingdom
Customer services: http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/help-and-contacts
Number: 0421 5575 758