This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of British Airways and its predecessor airlines, Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA. You can browse the full series of 100 stories in numerical order, by theme or by decade.
Note many articles have been updated since they were first published.
As we’re just outside the Top 10, here’s a miscellany of things that didn’t quite make it into 100 list.
Boeing 707 Aircraft – The successor to the VC10 aircraft and predecessor to the Boeing 747 at BOAC. Whilst the VC10 was much loved by passengers the 707 had a much better range and operating performance for longer range routes than the VC10. It was a substantially smaller aircraft than the 747, which heralded the era of mass travel.
British Airways Helicopters – This was originally formed by BEA in 1947. By the 1980s British Airways Helicopters had a fleet of 40 helicopters, operating principally in the North Sea. It was sold by BA in 1986.
British Asia Airways – A former wholly owned operating division of BA that used to operate flights to Taipei.
Croydon Airport – A former base for Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA, Croydon Airport long ceased operations but its visitors centre is open to visitors on the first Sunday of the month.
Flying Start – BA’s charity partnership with Comic Relief. Since 2010 it has raised over £20million for the charity. It is also the subject BA’s somewhat marmite safety videos.
High Life Magazine – BA’s in flight magazine has survived the digital age. Occasionally containing a few howlers and out of date route maps, nearly 200,000 copies are published each month with a readership of around 825,000. A dedicated version of the magazine is produced for routes to China.
Northolt Airport – This was a major base for British European Airways during the construction of Heathrow. It is now a Royal Air Force station and is used for civil and military aircraft.
The BA Heritage Centre – Based at BA’s Head Office at Heathrow and curated by the late Paul Jarvis, the BA Heritage Centre contains a huge range of original materials from BA’s history and is available to visit by appointment.
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