“British Airways and its predecessor companies have been at the very forefront of air transport development since the dawn of this industry. We will continue to lead in the future" (British Airways, 2004)…
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This is according to the chairman of British Airways from 1993 to 2004, lord Marshall of Knightsbridge. While the history of BA in its current structure and name began in 1976, its predecessors can be traced back to the late ‘10s. The first British Airlines, Aircraft Transport and Travel, was established in 1919, with the initial scheduled flight taking off on August the 25th from le Bourget to Honslow, its home. Two other airlines, Handley page and Instone, were established using modified bombers. The three companies underwent a period of great difficulty, especially competition from French airlines, which were cheaper. To solve these problems, they merged to be joined later by British Marine Air Navigation, forming Imperial Airways. Imperial Airways began local and overseas flights immediately, flying as far as Egypt and India with a crew of 250 and a fleet of 18 crafts (Gaskell, 2010). This paper is an essay on British Airways. Later, Imperial Airways was a Brisbane, Australia route, whose duration would take grueling 12 days. The new airline added new planes such as the short S.23 C-class model, which signified that the airline was growing, as was a new carrier British Airways limited (Gaskell, 2010). After the start of the 1st World War, these two merged to form British Overseas Airways Corporation, which re-started its transatlantic flights after the war ended. In addition, they created the BEA, a new airline to handle the European flights. At this point, the carriers needed to order new and more efficient aircraft. BOAC consequently ordered the Boeing Strato-cruiser, the Lockheed Constellation, and a Rolls-Royce engine equipped version of the DC-4. It did not take long before they ordered a jet plane, the De Havilland Comet, which dramatically reduced the length of trans-Atlantic flights (Marriott, 2010). The early 60’s saw BOAC order the Rolls-Royce Conway engine driven 707-436 to tide over until the VC-10s were ready. By 1970, with the first 747 and rapid growth, BOAC and BAL were ready to merge and work as one, establishing British Airways in 1976. BA’s most crucial year was 1976; it had a partnership with Concorde, coupled with big fleets of Lockheed TriStar and Boeing 747. The early 1980s saw the company face its second major threat, economic trouble, although measures were taken to privatize the company, which duly happened in 1987. Increasing competition from US based carriers also forced BAs hand in the merger with British Caledonian, which saw the A320 among other planes enter the fleet (Marriott, 2010). This merger further enabled BA to begin operations at Gatwick Airport. However, its base remained at Heathrow, where BA operates approximately forty percent of the total flights. In addition, the airline has created service stations in Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester. British Airways has built its brand around fast travel, which has seen it at the forefront of jet travel. The first jets for short haul flights were ordered in 1980, with forty four 737-200 planes delivered. New 737s were ordered in the late 80s, most of them being the 400-plane model with increased passenger capacity. Although not a choice of BA, the Airbus A320, entered the British Airways service after it merged with British Caledonian (Marriott, 2010). However, the planes proved quite efficient in their flights and duties. Medium haul flights were performed by the larger Boeing 757 fleet, as well as the 767, which were equipped with engines from Rolls-Royce. A number of Boeing 767-300ER in turn, performs long haul flights, which do not require huge passenger capacity. Most of these carry two hundred and fifty two passengers, with additional Boeing 777-200 and 747-400 complementing this segment. Recently, the company replaced all Boeing
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Since its formation in the year 1974, the company has experienced huge expansion in the aviation industry and has become an admired flying enterprise internationally (British Airways, n.d.). The company had commenced a series of renovations since it had privatised and registered in the London Stock Exchange.
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