BA Unveils Its Retro Negus Boeing 747 Livery

British Airways has unveiled its fourth and final retrospective aircraft livery to mark its centenary year.

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British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery (Image Credit: British Airways)

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.

British Airways post BEA & BOAC merger advertisement
British Airways pre BEA & BOAC merger advertisement, September 1973

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 Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin Airport
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, Dublin Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Boeing 747, Negus Livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

Sir Colin Marshall on “Putting People First”

The late Sir Colin Marshall on providing value and differentiated service in a commoditised market.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Centenary

British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

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.

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BA Unveils Its Retro Landor Boeing 747 Livery

British Airways has unveiled the third of its retrospective aircraft liveries to mark its centenary year.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Centenary

British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, Dublin (Image Credit: British Airways)

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 Boeing 747 G-BNLY
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, Dublin (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, Dublin (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY
British Airways Boeing 747 G-BNLY “City Of Swansea”, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Staff in Roland Klein and Julien Macdonald uniforms, London Heathrow
British Airways Staff in Roland Klein and Julien Macdonald uniforms, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Staff in Roland Klein uniforms, London Heathrow
British Airways Staff in Roland Klein uniforms, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

BA Unveils Retro British European Airways Livery

British Airways has unveiled the second of its retrospective liveries to mark its centenary year.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Centenary

British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways has unveiled the second of its retrospective liveries to mark its centenary year, an Airbus A319 aircraft in a British European Airways livery.

The aircraft, registration G-EUPJ, returned to London Heathrow this morning having been repainted in Shannon over the past week.

British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, Shannon Airport
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, Shannon Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery (Image Credit: British Airways)
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery, London Heathrow
British Airways Airbus A319 aircraft in BEA livery (Image Credit: British Airways)

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BA Unveils Its Retro BOAC Boeing 747 Livery

British Airways has unveiled the first of its retro aircraft liveries to mark its centenary year.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Centenary

British Airways Boeing 747 in BOAC Livery, Dublin Airport
British Airways Boeing 747 in BOAC Livery, Dublin Airport (Image Credit: British Airways)

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.

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BA Launches New TV Advertising Campaign

British Airways has launched a new TV advertising campaign to start its centenary celebration.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Centenary

British Airways Centenary
British Airways Centenary

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.

This is the first major brand-led TV advertising campaign for BA in over five years, since “To Fly. To Serve. Today. Tomorrow.” in 2013.

The ad will be shown on UK television from this weekend. It was created by BA’s agencies Ogilvy and Wavemaker. It was directed by Tom Tagholm of Park Pictures.

Please see here for our history of BA advertising over the past four decades.

British Airways: 100 Years Of Aviation Posters

A look at a collection of 100 posters from BA and its predecessor airlines, Imperial Airways, BEA and BOAC.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Centenary

British Airways 100 Years Of Aviation Posters (Image Credit: Amberley Publishing)
British Airways 100 Years Of Aviation Posters (Image Credit: British Airways)

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.

Paul has also published a number of books on BA are all of which are on sale at Amberley Publishing. This collection of books will serve as a reference of decades of aviation history for many years to come.
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“British Airways: 100 Years in the Sky”

Channel 5 takes a look at 100 years of BA at 21:00 on Tuesday 1 May 2018.

London Air Travel » British Airways » British Airways Centenary

British Airways Boeing 737 in Landor livery
British Airways Boeing 737 in Landor livery (Image Credit: British Airways)

British Airways celebrates its centenary in 2019. The airline itself will no doubt be planning a lot of events to mark the occasion.

The official date of BA’s 100th anniversary is not until 25 August 2019. However, Channel 5 is well ahead of the game as it will take a look at the history of BA in a two part series “British Airways: 100 Years in the Sky”.

The first episode airs at 21:00 on Tuesday 1 May 2018 and will be available to watch on demand at My5 after broadcast.

The programme is produced by Title Role Productions whose related credits include World’s Wildest Flights.

There’s actually not much that has been released in terms of pre-broadcast publicity, beyond “The first passengers sat in wicker chairs with no toilets.” Also, it is not known whether BA has co-operated with the production, which would influence how much archive material has been available. Researchers were looking for contributors online earlier this year, which suggests the production turnaround is quite quick.

Postscript

Having just watched the first episode, Title Role has done a very creditable job at covering a very broad subject. There’s a lot of high quality archive footage and a good range of informed contributors including journalists, social and cultural historians and former staff of BA and its predecessor airlines.