This article was published in 2019 in a series on the history of British Airways and its predecessors Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA. You can browse all 100 stories in number order, by theme or by decade.
Many have been updated since first published.
Amongst all the coverage of blockbuster advertising campaigns and premium cabins, it would be remiss not to mention those staff who are responsible for ensuring aircraft stay in the air, the engineers.
BA has significant engineering teams at Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as well as at dedicated facilities in Cardiff and Glasgow. The demands on engineers have of course changed over time. Flights used to operate with in-flight engineers. Concorde also used to demand a relatively huge number of engineers per aircraft.
In 1993, with the aid of generous grants from the Welsh Development Agency, BA opened a maintenance centre in Cardiff which carries out maintenance work for much of BA’s long-haul fleet. This is where significant long-haul aircraft projects such as the refurbishment of the Boeing 747 fleet have been carried out. Some work such as the refurbishment of Gatwick Boeing 777s and maintenance of Airbus A380 aircraft is carried out overseas. Short-haul “heavy” maintenance is carried out in Glasgow.
BA engineering, together with Iberia, also offers “Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul” services to other airlines.
Like all parts of BA, engineering has not been immune from competitive pressures and under the watchful eye of its parent company IAG it must be competitive against third parties. However, this is one part of BA where management has rightfully resisted the temptation to fully outsource. As well as a carrying out an important safety critical function, it also serves as an important entry point into the industry for future engineers on work experience and apprenticeships around the UK.
If you would like to receive all future articles published by London Air Travel directly by e-mail, then enter your e-mail address below: