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British Airways (UK)

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British Airways
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded31 March 1974
AOC #441
Frequent-flyer programExecutive Club/Avios
Fleet size275
Company sloganTo Fly. To Serve.
Parent companyInternational Airlines Group
HeadquartersWaterside, Harmondsworth, United Kingdom
Key people
Revenue £11,443 million (2016)[4]
Net income £1,473 million (2016)[5]

British Airways (BA) is the flag carrier[6][7] and the largest airline in the United Kingdom based on fleet size, or the second largest, behind easyJet, when measured by passengers carried. The airline is based in Waterside near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. In January 2011 BA merged with Iberia, creating the International Airlines Group (IAG), a holding company registered in Madrid, Spain. IAG is the world's third-largest airline group in terms of annual revenue and the second-largest in Europe. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the FTSE 100 Index.

BA was created in 1974 after a British Airways Board was established by the British government to manage the two nationalised airline corporations, British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, and two regional airlines, Cambrian Airways from Cardiff, and Northeast Airlines from Newcastle upon Tyne. On 31 March 1974, all four companies were merged to form British Airways. After almost 13 years as a state company, BA was privatised in February 1987 as part of a wider privatisation plan by the Conservative government. The carrier expanded with the acquisition of British Caledonian in 1987, Dan-Air in 1992, and British Midland International in 2012. Its preeminence highlights the reach of the country's influence as many of its destinations in several regions were historically part of the British Empire.

It is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance, along with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and the now defunct Canadian Airlines. The alliance has since grown to become the third largest, after SkyTeam and Star Alliance.


Proposals to establish a joint British airline, combining the assets of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and British European Airways (BEA) were first raised in 1953 as a result of difficulties in attempts by BOAC and BEA to negotiate air rights through the British colony of Cyprus. Increasingly BOAC was protesting that BEA was using its subsidiary Cyprus Airways to circumvent an agreement that BEA would not fly routes further east than Cyprus, particularly to the increasingly important oil regions in the Middle East. The Chairman of BOAC, Miles Thomas, was in favour of merger as a potential solution to this disagreement and had backing for the idea from the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time, Rab Butler. However, opposition from the Treasury blocked the proposal.[8]

Consequently, it was only following the recommendations of the 1969 Edwards Report that a new British Airways Board, managing both BEA and BOAC, and the two regional British airlines Cambrian Airways based at Cardiff, and Northeast Airlines based at Newcastle upon Tyne, was constituted on 1 April 1972.[9] Although each airline's individual branding was maintained initially, two years later the British Airways Board unified its branding, effectively establishing British Airways as an airline on 31 March 1974.[10]

Following two years of fierce competition with British Caledonian, the second-largest airline in the United Kingdom at the time, the Government changed its aviation policy in 1976 so that the two carriers would no longer compete on long-haul routes.[11]

British Airways and Air France operated the supersonic airliner Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde, and the world's first supersonic passenger service flew in January 1976 from London Heathrow to Bahrain.[12] Services to the US began on 24 May 1976 with a flight to Washington Dulles airport, and flights to New York JFK airport followed on 22 September 1977. Service to Singapore was established in co-operation with Singapore Airlines as a continuation of the flight to Bahrain.[10] Following the Air France Concorde crash in Paris and a slump in air travel following the 11 September attacks in New York in 2001, it was decided to cease Concorde operations in 2003 after 27 years of service. The final commercial Concorde flight was BA002 from New York JFK to London Heathrow on 24 October 2003.[13]

In 1981 the airline was instructed to prepare for privatisation by the Conservative Thatcher government. Sir John King, later Lord King, was appointed chairman, charged with bringing the airline back into profitability. While many other large airlines struggled, King was credited with transforming British Airways into one of the most profitable air carriers in the world.[14] The flag carrier was privatised and was floated on the London Stock Exchange in February 1987.[15] British Airways effected the takeover of the UK's "second" airline, British Caledonian, in July of that same year.[16]

The formation of Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic in 1984 created a competitor for BA. The intense rivalry between British Airways and Virgin Atlantic culminated in the former being sued for libel in 1993, arising from claims and counterclaims over a "dirty tricks" campaign against Virgin. This campaign included allegations of poaching Virgin Atlantic customers, tampering with private files belonging to Virgin and undermining Virgin's reputation in the City. As a result of the case BA management apologised "unreservedly", and the company agreed to pay £110,000 damages to Virgin, £500,000 to Branson personally and £3 million legal costs.[17] Lord King stepped down as chairman in 1993 and was replaced by his deputy, Colin Marshall, while Bob Ayling took over as CEO.[18] Virgin filed a separate action in the US that same year regarding BA's domination of the trans-Atlantic routes, but it was thrown out in 1999.[17]

In 1992 British Airways expanded through the acquisition of the financially troubled Dan-Air, giving BA a much larger presence at Gatwick airport. British Asia Airways, a subsidiary based in Taiwan, was formed in March 1993 to operate between London and Taipei. That same month BA purchased a 25% stake in the Australian airline Qantas and, with the acquisition of Brymon Airways in May, formed British Airways Citiexpress (later BA Connect).[18] In September 1998, British Airways, along with American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and Canadian Airlines, formed the Oneworld airline alliance. Oneworld began operations on 1 February 1999, and is the third largest airline alliance in the world, behind SkyTeam and Star Alliance.[16]

Bob Ayling's leadership led to a cost savings of £750m and the establishment of a budget airline, Go, in 1998.[19] The next year, however, British Airways reported an 84% drop in profits in its first quarter alone, its worst in seven years.[20] In March 2000, Ayling was removed from his position and British Airways announced Rod Eddington as his successor. That year, British Airways and KLM conducted talks on a potential merger, reaching a decision in July to file an official merger plan with the European Commission.[21] The plan fell through in September 2000.[22] British Asia Airways ceased operations in 2001 after BA suspended flights to Taipei. Go was sold to its management and the private equity firm 3i in June 2001.[23] Eddington would make further workforce cuts due to reduced demand following 11 September attacks in 2001,[13] and BA sold its stake in Qantas in September 2004.[24] In 2005 Willie Walsh, managing director of Aer Lingus and a former pilot, became the chief executive officer of British Airways.[25] BA unveiled its new subsidiary OpenSkies in January 2008, taking advantage of the liberalisation of transatlantic traffic rights between Europe and the United States. OpenSkies flies non-stop from Paris to New York's JFK and Newark airports.[26]

On July 2008 British Airways announced a merger plan with Iberia, another flag carrier airline in the Oneworld alliance, wherein each airline would retain its original brand.[27] The agreement was confirmed in April 2010,[28] and in July the European Commission and US Department of Transport permitted the merger and began to co-ordinate transatlantic routes with American Airlines.[29][30] On 6 October 2010 the alliance between British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia formally began operations. The alliance generates an estimated £230 million in annual cost-saving for BA, in addition to the £330 million which would be saved by the merger with Iberia.[31][32] This merger was finalised on 21 January 2011, resulting in the International Airlines Group (IAG), the world's third-largest airline in terms of annual revenue and the second-largest airline group in Europe.[28][33] Prior to merging, British Airways owned a 13.5% stake in Iberia, and thus received ownership of 55% of the combined International Airlines Group; Iberia's other shareholders received the remaining 45%.[34] As a part of the merger, British Airways ceased trading independently on the London Stock Exchange after 23 years as a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.[35]

In September 2010 Willie Walsh, now CEO of IAG, announced that the group was considering acquiring other airlines and had drawn up a shortlist of twelve possible acquisitions.[36] In November 2011 IAG announced an agreement in principle to purchase British Midland International from Lufthansa.[37] A contract to purchase the airline was agreed the next month,[38] and the sale was completed for £172.5 million on 30 March 2012.[39] The airline established a new subsidiary based at London City Airport operating Airbus A318s.[40]

British Airways was the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic Games. On 18 May 2012 it flew the Olympic flame from Athens International Airport to RNAS Culdrose while carrying various dignitaries, including Lord Sebastian Coe, Princess Anne, the Olympics minister Hugh Robertson and the London Mayor Boris Johnson, along with the footballer David Beckham.[41]

On 27 May 2017, British Airways suffered a computer power failure. All flights were cancelled and thousands of passengers were affected.[42] By the following day, the company had not succeeded in reestablishing normal function of their computer systems. When asked by reporters for more information on the ongoing problems, British Airways stated "The root cause was a power supply issue which our affected our IT systems - we continue to investigate this" and declined to comment further.[43] Willie Walsh later attributed the crash to an electrical engineer disconnecting the UPS and said there would be an independent investigation.[44]

Amidst the decline in the value of Iranian currency due to the reintroduction of US sanctions on Iran, BA announced that the Iranian route is "not commercially viable". As a result, BA decided to stop their services in Iran, effective 22 September 2018.[45][46]

In 2019, as part of the celebrations of a centenary of airline operations in the United Kingdom, British Airways announced that four aircraft would receive retro liveries. The first of these is Boeing 747-400 G-BYGC which was repainted into a British Overseas Airways Corporation livery, which it will retain until retirement in 2023. Two more Boeing 747-400s are to be repainted with former British Airways liveries. One will wear the "Landor" livery, the other will wear the original "Union Jack" livery. An Airbus A319 is to be repainted into British European Airways livery.[47]

Corporate affairs


British Airways is the largest airline based in the United Kingdom in terms of fleet size, international flights, and international destinations and was, until 2008, the largest airline by passenger numbers. The airline carried 34.6 million passengers in 2008, but, rival carrier easyJet transported 44.5 million passengers that year, passing British Airways for the first time.[48][49] British Airways holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, it is permitted to carry passengers, cargo, and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[50]

The airlines' head office, Waterside, stands in Harmondsworth, a village that is near London Heathrow Airport.[51] Waterside was completed in June 1998 to replace British Airways' previous head office, Speedbird House, which was located on the grounds of Heathrow.[52][53]

British Airways' main base is at London Heathrow Airport, but it also has a major presence at Gatwick Airport. It also has a base at London City Airport (LCY), where its subsidiary BA CityFlyer is the largest operator. BA had previously operated a significant hub at Manchester Airport. Manchester to New York (JFK) services were withdrawn; later all international services outside London ceased when the subsidiary BA Connect was sold. Passengers wishing to travel internationally with BA either to or from regional UK destinations must now transfer in London.[54] Heathrow Airport is dominated by British Airways, which owns 40% of the slots available at the airport.[55] The majority of BA services operate from Terminal 5, with the exception of some short-haul and mid-haul flights at Terminal 1 arising from the purchase of BMI and some short-haul flights at Terminal 3,[56] owing to a lack of capacity at Terminal 5. With the imminent opening of the brand-new Terminal 2 in 2014, Star Alliance airlines will progressively be moving all their services into the new terminal and Terminal 1 will be closed for demolition in due course. British Airways' services will then be concentrated in Terminals 3 and 5.

In August 2014, Willie Walsh advised the airline would continue to use flight paths over Iraq despite the hostilities there. A few days earlier Qantas announced it would avoid Iraqi airspace, while other airlines did likewise. The issue arose following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, and a temporary suspension of flights to and from Ben Gurion Airport during the 2014 IsraelGaza conflict.[57]

Subsidiaries and shareholdings

BA CityFlyer, a wholly owned subsidiary, offers flights from its base at London City Airport to 23 destinations throughout Europe. It flies 17 Embraer E-170/E-190 aircraft and two leased Saab 2000.[58] The airline focuses on serving the financial market, though it has recently expanded into the leisure market, offering routes to Ibiza, Palma and Venice.[59] The onboard product is identical to that of the BA Short Haul product from both LHR and LGW.[60]

In March 2015, Qatar Airways purchased a 10% stake in International Airlines Group, the parent of British Airways and Iberia, for 1.2 billion (US$1.26 billion).[61]

BEA Helicopters was renamed British Airways Helicopters in 1974 and operated passenger and offshore oil support services until it was sold in 1986.[62] Other former subsidiaries include the German airline Deutsche BA from 1997 until 2003 and the French airline Air Liberté from 1997 to 2001.[63][64] British Airways also owned Airways Aero Association, the operator of the British Airways flying club based at Wycombe Air Park in High Wycombe, until it was sold to Surinder Arora in 2007.[65]

South Africa's Comair and Denmark's Sun Air of Scandinavia have been franchisees of British Airways since 1996.[66][67] British Airways obtained a 15% stake in UK regional airline Flybe from the sale of BA Connect in March 2007.[68] It sold the stake in 2014. BA also owned a 10% stake in InterCapital and Regional Rail (ICRR), the company that managed the operations of Eurostar (UK) Ltd from 1998 to 2010,[69][70] when the management of Eurostar was restructured.

With the creation of an Open Skies agreement between Europe and the United States in March 2008, British Airways started a new subsidiary airline called OpenSkies (previously known as Project Lauren).[71] The airline started operations in June 2008, and flew directly from ParisOrly to Newark.[72] However it ceased operations on 2 September 2018 when it was replaced with Level flights on that route.[73]

British Airways Limited was established in 2012 to take over the operation of the premium service between London City Airport and New York-JFK. BA began the service in September 2009, using two Airbus A318s fitted with 32 lie-flat beds in an all business class cabin.[74][75] Flights operate under the numbers previously reserved for Concorde: BA001 BA004.[76][77] The flights returned to be directly operated by British Airways plc in 2015.

British Airways provides cargo services under the British Airways World Cargo brand. The division has been part of IAG Cargo since 2012, and is the world's twelfth-largest cargo airline based on total freight tonne-kilometres flown.[78] BA World Cargo operates using the main BA fleet. Until the end of March 2014 they also operated three Boeing 747-8 freighter aircraft providing dedicated long-haul services under a wet lease arrangement from Global Supply Systems.[79] The division operates an automated cargo centre at London Heathrow Airport and handles freight at Gatwick and Stansted airports.

Business trends

The key trends for the British Airways Plc Group are shown below.

On the merger with Iberia, the accounting reference date was changed from 31 March to 31 December; figures below are therefore for the years to 31 March up to 2010, for the nine months to 31 December 2010, and for the years to 31 December thereafter:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Turnover (£m) 8,758 8,992 7,994 6,683 9,987 10,827 11,421 11,719 11,333 11,443 12,226
Profit (profit/loss after tax) (£m) 694 358 425 170 672 84 281 702 975* 1,345 1,447
Number of employees (average FTE) 41,745 41,473 37,595 35,778 36,164 38,761 38,592 39,710 39,309 39,024 38,347
Number of passengers (m) 34.6 33.1 31.8 24.1 34.2 37.6 39.9 41.5 43.3 44.5 45.2
Passenger load factor (%) 79.1 77.0 78.5 78.5 78.2 79.9 81.3 81.0 81.5 81.2 81.8
Number of aircraft at year end 245 245 238 240 245 273 278 279 284 293 293
Notes/sources [80][81] [81] [81] [82] only 9
[82] [83] [83] [84] *After deconsolidation
of AGL
[86] [87]
Industrial relations

Staff working for British Airways are represented by a number of trade unions, pilots are represented by British Air Line Pilots' Association, cabin crew by British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (a branch of Unite the Union), while other branches of Unite the Union and the GMB Union represent other employees. Bob Ayling's management faced strike action by cabin crew over a £1 billion cost-cutting drive to return BA to profitability in 1997; this was the last time BA cabin crew would strike until 2009, although staff morale has reportedly been unstable since that incident.[88] In an effort to increase interaction between management, employees, and the unions, various conferences and workshops have taken place, often with thousands in attendance.[89]

In 2005, wildcat action was taken by union members over a decision by Gate Gourmet not to renew the contracts of 670 workers and replace them with agency staff; it is estimated that the strike cost British Airways £30 million and caused disruption to 100,000 passengers.[90] In October 2006, BA became involved in a civil rights dispute when a Christian employee was forbidden to wear a necklace bearing the cross, a religious symbol.[91] BA's practice of forbidding such symbols has been publicly questioned by British politicians such as the former Home Secretary John Reid and the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.[92][93]

Relations have been turbulent between BA and Unite. In 2007, cabin crew threatened strike action over salary changes to be imposed by BA management. The strike was called off at the last minute, British Airways losing £80 million.[88] In December 2009, a ballot for strike action over Christmas received a high level of support,[94] action was blocked by a court injunction that deemed the ballot illegal. Negotiations failed to stop strike action in March, BA withdrew perks for strike participants.[95] Allegations were made by the Guardian newspaper that BA had consulted outside firms methods to undermine the unions, the story was later withdrawn.[96] A strike was announced for May 2010, British Airways again sought an injunction. Members of the Socialist Workers Party disrupted negotiations between BA management and Unite to prevent industrial action.[97] Further disruption struck when Derek Simpson, a Unite co-leader, was discovered to have leaked details of confidential negotiations online via Twitter.[98] Industrial action re-emerged in 2017, this time by BA's Mixed Fleet flight attendants, whom were employed on much less favorable pay and terms and conditions compared to previous cabin staff who joined prior to 2010. A ballot for industrial action was distributed to Mixed Fleet crew in November 2016[99] and resulted in an overwhelming yes majority for industrial action.[100] Unite described Mixed Fleet crew as on "poverty pay", with many Mixed Fleet flight attendants sleeping in their cars in between shifts because they cannot afford the fuel to drive home, or operating while sick as they cannot afford to call in sick and lose their pay for the shift. Unite also blasted BA of removing staff travel concessions, bonus payments and other benefits to all cabin crew who undertook industrial action, as well as strike-breaking tactics such as wet-leasing aircraft from other airlines and offering financial incentives for cabin crew not to strike.[101][102] The first dates of strikes during Christmas 2016 were cancelled due to pay negotiations.[103] Industrial action by Mixed Fleet commenced in January 2017 after rejecting a pay offer.[104] Strike action continued throughout 2017 in numerous discontinuous periods, resulting in one of the longest running disputes in aviation history.[105][106][107][108][109] On 31 October 2017, after 85 days of discontinuous industrial action, Mixed Fleet accepted a new pay deal from BA which ended the dispute.[110]


British Airways serves over 160 destinations, including six domestic.[111]

Codeshare agreements

British Airways codeshares with the following airlines:[112]


British Airways is a member and one of the founders of Oneworld, an airline alliance.


With the exception of the Boeing 707 and early Boeing 747 variants from BOAC, British Airways inherited a mainly UK-built fleet of aircraft when it was formed in 1974. The airline introduced the Boeing 737 and Boeing 757 into the fleet in the 1980s, followed by the Boeing 747-400, Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 in the 1990s. BA was the largest operator of Boeing 747-400s, with 57 in its fleet.[16][18] Prior to the introduction of the 787, when Boeing built an aircraft for British Airways, it was allocated the customer code 36, which appeared in their aircraft designation as a suffix, such as 737436.[116]

In 1991, British Airways placed its first order for 777-200 aircraft, ordering another four for fleet expansion in 2007 at a cost of around US$800 million.[117] BA's first 777s were fitted with General Electric GE90 engines, but BA switched to Rolls-Royce Trent 800s for subsequent aircraft.[118][119]

Later in 2007, BA announced their order of thirty-six new long-haul aircraft, including twelve Airbus A380s and twenty-four Boeing 787 Dreamliners.[120] Rolls-Royce Trent engines were again selected for both orders with Trent 900s powering the A380s and Trent 1000s powering the 787s. The Boeing 787s will replace 14 of British Airways' Boeing 767 fleet, while the Airbus A380s will replace 20 of BA's Boeing 747-400s and will most likely be used to increase capacity on key routes from London Heathrow.

On 1 August 2008, BA announced orders for six Boeing 777-300ERs and options for four more as an interim measure to cover for delays over the deliveries of their 787-8/9s. Of the six that have been ordered, four will be leased and two will be fully acquired by British Airways.[121]

On 22 April 2013, IAG confirmed that it had signed a memorandum of understanding to order 18 A350-1000 aircraft for British Airways, with an option for a further 18. The aircraft would replace some of the airline's fleet of Boeing 747-400s.[122] Options for 18 Boeing 787 aircraft, part of the original contract signed in 2007, have been converted into firm orders for delivery between 2017 and 2021.[123]

On 26 June 2013, British Airways took delivery of its first 787s. The aircraft began operations to Toronto on 1 September 2013, and began service to Newark on 1 October 2013.[124] BA's first A380 was delivered on 4 July 2013.[125] It began regular services to Los Angeles on 24 September 2013, followed by Hong Kong on 22 October 2013.[126]

Current fleet

As of 1 March 2019, the British Airways fleet consists of the following aircraft:[127]

British Airways fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers[128][129] Notes
F J W Y Total
Airbus A318-100 1 32 32 Operates specialty route between London City Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport [130]
Airbus A319-100 42 143 143 22 older aircraft to be retired by 2023[131]G-EUPJ to be painted in BEA retro livery[132]
144 144
Airbus A320-200 67 168 168
177 177[133]
Airbus A320neo 10 15[134] 180 180[135]
Airbus A321-200 18 23 131 154
199 199
Airbus A321neo 3 7[134] 220 220[136]
Airbus A350-1000 18[134]
Entry into service in 2019[137]
Airbus A380-800 12 14 97 55 303 469
Boeing 747-400 34 14 86 30 145 275 All to be retired by 2024[138]
To be replaced by Boeing 777-9[139]G-BYGC painted in BOAC retro livery [140]

G-BNLY to be painted in 1990s Landor livery [141]

14 52 36 235 337
Boeing 777-200 3 17 48 24 127 216 To be replaced by 777-300ER[142][143]
Boeing 777-200ER 43 14 48 40 124 226[144]
48 24 203 275
32 52 252 336[145]
Boeing 777-300ER 12 4[146][147] 14 56 44 185 299
Boeing 777-9 18[148] 8 65 46 206 325 Order includes 24 options
Boeing 787-8 12 35 25 154 214
Boeing 787-9 18 8 42 39 127 216
Boeing 787-10 12[149]
Total 275 74
Cargo fleet

IAG's cargo division, IAG Cargo, handles cargo operations using capacity on British Airways' passenger aircraft. IAG reached an agreement with Qatar Airways in 2014 to operate flights for IAG Cargo using Boeing 777F of Qatar Airways Cargo.[150]

British Airways World Cargo was the airline's freight division prior to its merger with Iberia Cargo to form IAG Cargo. Aircraft types used by the division between 1974 and 1983 were Vickers 953C,[151] Boeing 707-300C[152] and Boeing 747-200F[153] while the Boeing 747-400F was operated from the 1990s to 2001 through Atlas Air and 2002 to early 2012 by Global Supply Systems, of these only one of Atlas Air's aircraft wore BA livery,[154] the others flew in Atlas and Global Supply's own colours. From 2012 until the termination of Global Supply System's contract in 2014, three Boeing 747-8F aircraft were flown for British Airways World Cargo.[155]

Former fleet
Aircraft Introduced Retired
Airbus A320-100 1988[156] 2007
BAC One-Eleven 400 1974[a] 1988
BAC One-Eleven 500 1974[b] 1993
BAe 146200 1989 1994
BAe ATP 1989 1994
Boeing 707-300 1974[c][d] 1984
Boeing 707-400 1974[d] 1981
Boeing 737-200 1977 2001
Boeing 737-300 1988 2009
Boeing 737-400 1997 2015
Boeing 737-500 1996 2009
Boeing 747-100 1974[d] 1999
Boeing 747-200 1977 2002
Boeing 757-200 1983 2010[157]
Boeing 767-300ER 1990 2018[158]
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde 1976 2003[159]
Hawker Siddeley Trident 1974[b] 1985
Hawker Siddeley HS 748 1975 1989
Lockheed Tristar 1 1975 1983
Lockheed Tristar 200 1980 1991
Lockheed Tristar 500 1979 1983
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 1988 1999
Vickers VC10 1974[d] 1981
Vickers Vanguard 1974[b] 1975
Vickers Viscount 1974[a] 1982
British Airways Engineering

The airline has its own engineering branch to maintain its aircraft fleet, this includes line maintenance at over 70 airports around the world.[160] As well as hangar facilities at Heathrow and Gatwick airport it has two major maintenance centres at Glasgow and Cardiff Airports.



The musical theme predominantly used on British Airways advertising is "The Flower Duet" by Léo Delibes.[161] This, and the slogan "The World's Favourite Airline" were introduced in 1989 with the launch of the iconic "Face" advertisement.[162] The slogan was dropped in 2001 after Lufthansa overtook BA in terms of passenger numbers.[163] "Flower Duet" is still used by the airline, and has been through several different arrangements since 1989. The most recent version of this melody was shown in 2007 with a new slogan: "Upgrade to British Airways".[164] Other advertising slogans have included "The World's Best Airline", "We'll Take More Care of You", and "Fly the Flag".[165]

BA had an account for 23 years with Saatchi & Saatchi, an agency that created many of their most famous advertisements, including the influential "Face" campaign. Saatchi & Saatchi later imitated this advert for Silverjet, a rival of BA, after BA discontinued their business activities.[166] Since 2007, BA has used Bartle Bogle Hegarty as its advertising agency.[167]

British Airways purchased the internet domain ba.com in 2002 from previous owner Bell Atlantic,[168] 'BA' being the company's acronym and its IATA Airline code. In 2011, BA launched its biggest advertising campaign in a decade, including a 90-second cinematic advert celebrating the airline's ninety-year heritage and a new slogan "To Fly. To Serve".[169]

British Airways is the official airline of the Wimbledon Championship tennis tournament, and was the official airline and tier one partner of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.[170][171] British Airways was also the official airline of England's bid to host the 2018 Football World Cup.[172]

High Life, founded in 1973, is the official in-flight magazine of the airline.[173]

Liveries, logos, and tail fins

The aeroplanes that British Airways inherited from the four-way merger between BOAC, BEA, Cambrian, and Northeast were temporarily given the text logo "British airways" but retained the original airline's livery. With its formation in 1974, British Airways' aeroplanes were given a new white, blue, and red colour scheme with a stylized Union Jack painted on their tail fins, designed by Negus & Negus. In 1984, a new livery designed by Landor Associates updated the airline's look as it prepared for privatization.[174]

In 1997, there was a controversial change to a new Project Utopia livery; all aircraft used the corporate colours consistently on the fuselage, but tailfins bore one of multiple designs.[175] Several people spoke out against the change, including the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who famously covered the tail of a model 747 at an event with a handkerchief, to show her displeasure.[176] BA's traditional rival, Virgin Atlantic, took advantage of the negative press coverage by applying the Union flag to the winglets of their aircraft along with the slogan "Britain's national flagcarrier".[177]

In 1999, the CEO of British Airways, Bob Ayling, announced that all BA planes would adopt the tailfin design Chatham Dockyard Union Flag originally intended to be used only on the Concorde, based on the Union Flag.[178] All BA aircraft have since borne the Chatham Dockyard Union flag variant of the Project Utopia livery.

Loyalty programmes

British Airways' tiered loyalty programme, called the Executive Club, includes access to special lounges and dedicated "fast" queues.[179] BA also invites its top corporate accounts to join a "Premier" incentive programme. British Airways operates airside lounges for passengers travelling in premium cabins, and these are available to certain tiers of Executive Club members.[180] First class passengers, as well as Gold Executive Club members, are entitled to use First Class Lounges. Business class passengers (called Club World or Club Europe in BA terms) as well as Silver Executive Club members may use Business lounges.[181] At airports in which BA does not operate a departure lounge, a third party lounge is often provided for premium or status passengers.[182] In 2011, due to the merger with Iberia, British Airways announced changes to the Executive Club to maximise integration between the airlines.[183] This included the combination and rebranding of Air Miles, BA Miles and Iberia Plus points as the IAG operated loyalty programme Avios.

Inflight magazines

high life Magazine is British Airways' complimentary inflight magazine. It is available to all customers across all cabins and aircraft types.

high life shop Magazine is British Airways' inflight shopping magazine. It is available to all customers on all aircraft where the inflight shopping range can be carried.

First life is a complimentary magazine offered to all customers travelling in the First cabin. It has a range of articles including fashion, trends and technology with an upmarket target audience.

Business life is a complimentary magazine targeted at business travellers and frequent flyers. The magazine can be found in all short haul aircraft seat pockets, in the magazine selection for Club World customers and in lounges operated by British Airways.

Cabins and services

Short haul

Economy class

Euro Traveller is British Airways' economy class cabin on all short-haul flights within Europe, including domestic flights within the UK.[184] Heathrow and Gatwick based flights are operated by Airbus A320 series aircraft. Standard seat pitch varies from 29" to 34" depending on aircraft type and location of seat.

All flights from Heathrow and Gatwick have a buy on board system with a range of food provided by Marks and Spencer.[185] Purchases can only be made by using credit and debit card or by using Frequent Flyer Avios points.[186]

Scheduled services operated by BA CityFlyer currently offer complimentary onboard catering. The service will switch to buy on board in the future.

Business class

Club Europe is the short-haul business class on all short-haul flights. This class allows for access to business lounges at most airports.[187][188] Club Europe provides seats in a 22 configuration on narrowbody aircraft, with the middle seat not used. Instead, a table folds up from under the middle seat on refurbished aircraft.[16][189] Pillows and blankets are available on longer flights.

In-flight entertainment is offered on selected longer flights operated by some A320 aircraft.[190] Complimentary headphones are provided to all customers on services where IFE is available.

Mid-haul and Long haul

First class

First is offered on British Airways' Airbus A380s, Boeing 747-400s, Boeing 777-300ERs, Boeing 787-9s and on some of their Boeing 777-200s. There are fourteen (eight on 787-9) private cabins on most of these aircraft, each with a 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) bed, a 15-inch (38 cm) wide entertainment screen, and in-seat power.[191][192] Dedicated British Airways 'Galleries First' lounges are available at some airports. The exclusive 'Concorde Room' lounges at Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York JFK airports offer pre-flight dining with waiter service and more intimate space. Business lounges are used where these are not available.

Club World

Club World is the mid-haul and long-haul business class cabin. It is offered on all Boeing 777, Boeing 787, Boeing 747-400, Airbus A318, Airbus A380, and selected Airbus A321 aircraft.[193][194] The cabin features fully convertible flat bed seats. In 2006, British Airways launched Next Generation New Club World, featuring larger seats.[16] The Club World cabins are all configured in a similar design on widebody aircraft with aisle seats facing forwards, while middle seats and window seats face backwards (British Airways is one of only five carriers with backwards facing Business class seats; American Airlines, Etihad Airways, United Airlines and Qatar Airways are the others).

On mid-haul routes operated by Airbus A321s, an alternating 1:2 / 2:1 configuration of 23 seats is used in the front section of the aircraft.

World Traveller Plus

World Traveller Plus is the premium economy class cabin provided on all A380, B747, B777, and B787 aircraft.[184] This cabin offers wider seats, extended leg-room, additional seat comforts such as larger IFE screen (on most aircraft) a foot rest and power sockets.[195] A complimentary 'World Traveller' bar is offered along with an upgraded main meal course.

World Traveller

World Traveller is the mid-haul and long-haul economy class cabin. It offers seat-back entertainment, complimentary food and drink, pillows, and blankets.[184][196][197] AVOD personal TV screens are available on all A321s, A380s, B747s, B777s, and B787s.[198] AC power outlets and USB plug-in points are offered in every seat row on the Airbus A380, Boeing 787, Boeing 777-300ER and on refurbished 777-200 aircraft. The outlets accept both UK and US plugs.

Incidents and accidents

See also


  1. ^ a b inherited from British Airways Regional Division
  2. ^ a b c Inherited from BEA
  3. ^ Inherited from British Airtours
  4. ^ a b c d Inherited from BOAC


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External links

Media related to British Airways at Wikimedia Commons

This article based on this article: British_Airwaysexternal Link from the free encyclopedia Wikipediaexternal Link and work with the GNU Free Documentation License. In Wikipedia is this list of the authorsexternal Link.