Last week we reported that BA had scheduled Boeing 747 aircraft on selected UK domestic flights from London Heathrow to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on the day of its centenary, Sunday 25 August 2019.
This did come with the caveat that BA had made no official announcement about these flights. These flights have attracted a lot of interest and a week later BA has today, Friday 7 June 2019, issued the following statement to the travel trade:
We’ve been exploring a number of options to put our customers at the heart of our birthday weekend celebrations, but we still haven’t confirmed any plans.
We haven’t revealed any of the details of our birthday weekend so far. Some aviation websites made a guess at what we were planning, but we were very clear that this was speculation.
We are still considering our options for that weekend and will release details in due course.
Clearly, some passengers may have booked these flights (in some cases for the cost of a transatlantic flight) hoping for special celebrations on board.
BA is now offering passengers who booked a Boeing 747 flight from London Heathrow to Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle on Sunday 25 August between 30 May and 7 June 2019 and no longer wish to travel a refund.
Affected passengers should contact BA or their travel agent.
Update: Many passengers are now receiving e-mails from BA advising that these flights will no longer be operated with a Boeing 747 aircraft. So the plan for special flights appears to have been cancelled entirely.
It has been known for some months that British Airways will be operating special flights to mark its centenary, which falls on Sunday 25 August 2019.
The airline has not yet made any official announcement. However, schedules are currently showing that Boeing 747 aircraft (most likely those in retro liveries) will operate three domestic return flights from London Heathrow Terminal 5 on Sunday 25 August 2019.
London Heathrow – Glasgow
Flight BA1482 Depart London Heathrow 12:00 – Arrive Glasgow 13:30 Flight BA1487 Depart Glasgow 15:00 – Arrive London Heathrow 16:25
These flights will be operated with an 86 Club World seat aircraft.
London Heathrow – Manchester
Flight BA1386 Depart London Heathrow 10:10 – Arrive Manchester 11:20 Flight BA1391 Depart Manchester 12:50 – Arrive London Heathrow 14:00
These flights will be operated with a 52 Club World seat aircraft.
London Heathrow – Newcastle
Flight BA1326 Depart London Heathrow 09:20 – Arrive Newcastle 10:35 Flight BA1327 Depart Newcastle 12:40 – Arrive London Heathrow 14:00
These flights will be operated with a 52 Club World seat aircraft.
British Airways has long maintained a “heritage collection” of archive materials and photographs from its near 100 year history.
This is based at its Head Office near Heathrow. It has also been online, though much of the photographs were scanned for uploading in an era when websites had to accommodate much slower internet connections.
As part of its centenary BA has launched a new dedicated archive microsite with many newly released images, videos and features on its history.
It covers many aspects of BA’s history, including staff uniforms and deliveries of new aircraft. There are also many videos including the launch of the turn-up-and-go domestic Shuttle Service from London to Glasgow in 1975 and the groundbreaking “World’s Biggest Offer”marketing campaign in 1991.
BA has also issued newly released photos of Her Majesty The Queen, who visited BA’s Head Office earlier this week, with British Airways aircraft.
The Queen has a long history with BA and its predecessor airlines.
On 31 January 1952, The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, bid farewell to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at London airport before departing on a BOAC aircraft with Prince Philip for a world tour of Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This was cut short following the death of King George VI and Princess Elizabeth returned a week later from Kenya on a BOAC Argonaut as Queen Elizabeth II.
BEA, BOAC and BA have flown The Queen on many state visits and tours. These include the 1953 Commonwealth tour, Canada and the US in 1957 (on a BOAC DC-7C aircraft), Bermuda and Jamaica 1963 (on a BOAC Stratocruiser), New Zealand in 1974, the Commonwealth Silver Jubilee tour 1977 (on Concorde), the Middle East in 1979 (on Concorde), and Australia 2011 (non-stop from London to Perth on a Boeing 777). The Queen also officially opened London Heathrow Terminals 1 and 5 and Gatwick’s North Terminal.
Back to the archive itself, the history of BA obviously depends on who is telling it.
Understandably, there are some events not touched on, such as aircraft incidents and BOAC and BA being caught up in major geopolitical events such as the 1970 Dawson’s Field hijackings and 1990 Gulf War. Nor are corporate controversies. However, there are subjects barely mentioned, such as the Newell and Sorrell redesign of BA’s corporate identity of 1997, controversial at the time, but now worthy of reappraisal.
British Airways has unveiled its fourth and final retrospective livery for its centenary year.
One of its Boeing 747 aircraft, registration G-CIVB, has been painted in the Negus & Negus livery.
The aircraft returned to London Heathrow this morning, Thursday 21 March 2019, having been repainted in Dublin over the past week.
“The new name in aviation”
The original livery was designed by the design agency Negus and Negus.
The livery was intended to combine elements of both BEA and BOAC’s identity. It featured BEA’s signature red and a quarter Union Jack on the tail fin to reflect BEA. The blue and white fuselage and the small Speedbird logo was intended to reflect BOAC. This was to appeal not only to the respective customers of BEA and BOAC, but also their staff.
At the same time, the design was intended to be bold enough to make the new (for BEA & BOAC passengers) British Airways name stand out.
The livery first came into effect in September 1973 when the British Airways name was adopted in advance of the formal merger of BEA and BOAC in April 1974. The first aircraft to bear the new livery was a BOAC Boeing 707. It took seven years to fully repaint all BEA and BOAC aircraft, with some aircraft carrying hybrid liveries for many years.
“British airways” was in June 1980 abbreviated to just “British”. However, this was considered outside of the UK to be overtly nationalistic in tone. The quarter Union Jack on the tail fin was of course retained for the Landor livery introduced in 1984.
This Boeing 747 aircraft will retain this livery until its retirement in 2022. It’s due to fly to Cape Town under flight BA43 today. There’s no way of predicting exactly on which routes this aircraft will operate. However, as a 52 Club World seat aircraft, it will also regularly operate from London Heathrow Terminals 3 & 5 primarily on routes such as Accra, Denver, Miami, Phoenix and Vancouver.
British Airways unveiled its “Landor” retrospective livery yesterday.
Introduced in 1984, that period from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s which spanned privatisation and strong financial performance, is often referred to as BA’s golden age.
That is true to a point. Of course this era pre-dates the rise of low cost airlines following the deregulation of aviation in Europe, September 11 2001, rising fuel prices and taxes, and the internet which made for easy price comparisons between airlines.
BA’s aggressive expansion in the late 1990s also led to it emerging from 11 September 2001 heavily indebted and it took nearly a decade for the airline to recover.
With that out of the way, it remains the case that this 1995 interview with Sir Colin Marshall from Harvard Business Review on delivering consistent high quality service in a commoditised market should be mandatory reading for anyone with the slightest connection to air travel.
Sir Colin Marshall, like BA Chairman Lord King, joined the airline from outside the aviation industry having been CEO of Avis in the US. Sir Colin Marshall oversaw BA’s “Putting People First” training programme. Designed by Danish firm Time Manager Inc, this was introduced in the same year as the Landor livery and involved a two day workshop for virtually all BA employees.
The crux of the interview is that it doesn’t shy away from acknowledging that air travel is a tough price sensitive market. But where airlines ultimately fly the same aircraft on the same routes at the same speed, differentiation on branding and perception of value is critical.
Whilst almost every service industry is now falling over itself purporting to provide an “experience” (often very contrived and scripted in actuality), in 1995, this was not the case.
Comments towards the end of the interview on industry consolidation and technology also proved to be very prescient.
On providing value in a commoditised market
You’re always going to be faced with the fact that the great majority of people will buy on price. But even for a seeming commodity such as air travel, an element of the traveling public is willing to pay a slight premium for superior service. They are the people we’ve been trying to attract and retain as customers. We don’t just mean people who fly business class, first class, or the Concorde. Many service companies ignore the fact that there also are plenty of customers in the lower end of the market who are willing to pay a little more for superior service.
It all comes back in the end to value for money. If you can deliver something extra that others are not or cannot, some people will pay a slight premium for it.
British Airways has officially unveiled the third of its retrospective aircraft liveries to mark its centenary year.
One of its Boeing 747s, aircraft registration G-BNLY, has been painted in the Landor livery.
The aircraft returned to London Heathrow this morning, Saturday 9 March 2019, having been repainted in Dublin over the past week.
The Landor livery was the second livery scheme introduced after the operations of BEA and BOAC merged under the British Airways brand from 1974. It replaced the the first livery designed by Negus & Negus.
The livery was designed by Landor Associates in San Francisco which was founded by the late Walter Landor who designed brand identities for Levi, General Electric and Fuji Film. This was in itself a controversial decision amongst British designers, but reflected BA’s global ambition and outlook.
Landor was introduced in 1984 at a time of significant change for the airline. Lord King had been appointed Chairman and Colin Marshall had been appointed CEO. Saatchi & Saatchi had secured the BA advertising contract. BA had started using “The World’s Favourite Airline” slogan. It had also introduced its “Putting People First” employee training programme.
The Landor livery cost $1million to design. Of course, it extended far beyond aircraft. It encompassed a complete redesign of BA’s visual identity. Landor Associates spent 18 months on the project, including 4 months travelling on the BA network to carry out a “visual audit” and conducting over 1,000 interviews.
The concept behind the Landor livery was an emphasis on precision. It wasn’t received with universal acclaim. Some British designers, perhaps expecting a modernist design, derided it as regressive and mediocre. Others mocked the inclusion of the BA crest on the tail fin.
This particular aircraft previously sported the Landor livery on its delivery to BA in 1993. The aircraft’s original name “City Of Swansea” has also been reinstated.
The aircraft carried the Landor livery until the introduction of the “World Images” tail fins from 1997, which unsurprisingly will not be the subject of a retrospective livery.
This aircraft will retain this livery until its retirement in 2023. It’s due to fly to Miami as BA211 today. There’s no way of predicting exactly on which routes this aircraft will operate. However, as a 52 Club World seat aircraft, it will regularly operate from London Heathrow Terminals 3 & 5 primarily on routes such as Accra, Cape Town, Denver, Miami, Phoenix and Vancouver.
British Airways has officially unveiled the first of its retrospective aircraft liveries to mark its centenary year.
One of its Boeing 747s, aircraft registration G-BYGC, has been painted in a BOAC livery.
British Overseas Airways Corporation, BOAC, was one of the two immediate predecessor airlines to BA. It merged with British European Airlines, BEA, before the formation of BA in 1974.
BOAC first operated Boeing 747-136 flights from London to New York JFK in April 1971. BA subsequently ordered Boeing 747-236 and 747-436 aircraft, and the latter were delivered up to 1999.
BA, together with BOAC, British Airtours and British Caledonian, have operated over 100 Boeing 747 aircraft in total, with a peak of 81 aircraft in service by the late 1990s. It is second only to Japan Airlines as the largest operator of passenger Boeing 747 aircraft in the world.
Strictly speaking, this is not the first time BA has unveiled a retro BOAC livery. One former BOAC Boeing 747 had a brief retro livery on one side of the aircraft immediately before its retirement.
There’s no way of predicting exactly on which routes this aircraft will operate. However, as a 86 Club World seat aircraft, it will regularly operate on routes such as Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Lagos, New York JFK, Philadelphia, San Diego and San Francisco. It will fly to New York JFK as flight BA117 on Tuesday 19 February.
This aircraft will retain this livery until its retirement, which is currently planned for 2023, but may well change.
British Airways has launched a new TV advertising campaign to mark the start of its centenary year celebrations.
BA has been running a series of teasers on social media and a dedicated microsite all week.
The ad “British Airways – Made By Britain” is described by BA as “a love letter to Britain”.
It features a number of figures from the arts, science and sport including Dame Jane Morris Goodall DBE; Helen Patricia Sharman, CMG, OBE, HonFRSC; Ellie Simmonds OBE; Chris Robshaw; Gary Oldman; Anthony Joshua OBE; Grayson Perry CBE RA; Riz Ahmed; Olivia Colman and Paloma Faith.
This is likely to be one of a number of ads to mark BA’s centenary and the campaign wisely begins without BA talking about itself.
In the very early days of commercial aviation, the principal means by which airlines advertised their services was the poster.
American Airlines, Braniff International Airways, Pan American World Airways, Swissair, Trans World Airways, United Airlines and many others all used the medium to great effect. This was not only to sell the relatively new idea of flying to a small constituency of wealthy travellers, but also their respective fleets and route networks, to passengers in their home markets and around the world.
In his latest book on British Airways, Paul Jarvis has selected 200 posters from a collection of over 1,000 posters from BA’s near 100 year history.
It begins with a poster from the very first BA predecessor airline, Aircraft Transport & Travel, which operated the first commercial air service from London to Paris on 25 August 1919.
The book also features an extensive collection of posters from other predecessor airlines including Imperial Airways, BEA and BOAC.
Not only do the posters cover developments in technology such as the VC-10, Boeing 747 and Concorde, but also major occasions of the 20th Century, such as the 1948 Olympic Games, 1951 Festival of Britain and 1953 Coronation. They all rely heavily on illustration and feature a variety of styles, notably the modernism of Imperial Airways’ posters in the 1930s.
The book inevitably focuses on advertising between the 1920s and 1960s as television took over as the principal advertising medium for airlines. BA of course used television advertising to great effect in the 1980s and beyond.
However, there are many more recent posters in the book such as BBH’s 2012 Olympics campaign and illustrations by Carla Lucena for the launch of London Gatwick – Lima in 2016.
Sadly, the book’s author passed away in the week of publication.
Paul Jarvis was a much respected and liked colleague who for over 15 years has volunteered as the curator of the British Airways Heritage Collection. This is particularly untimely as next year BA will celebrate its centenary. There can be no doubt Paul’s work has played a vital role in airline’s preparations for its centenary.