In post-war Britain air passenger services were provided by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). On 1 November 1945 the then Labour Government announced plans to break up BOAC into three state-owned companies: BOAC, flying long haul routes including to North America; British South American Airways (BSAA), flying to South America and the Caribbean; and British European Airways (BEA), flying all domestic and all European routes. BEA was founded as a division of BOAC on 1 January 1946 and on 1 August 1946 the Civil Aviation Act received Royal Assent, officially breaking up BOAC into the three companies. A number of smaller independent airlines were absorbed into BEA.
Throughout the 1950s BEA expanded its European routes and introduced new aircraft. In 1960 BEA introduced its first jet aircraft, the Comet 4B and by September 1960 had carried its 25,000,000th passenger. BEA introduced the Trident in 1962 and by April 1969 BEA Airtours Ltd, a new subsidiary charter airline company was formed. In 1967 a government committee chaired by Sir Ronald Edwards published a report in 1969 called 'British Air Transport in the Seventies' arguing for the merger of BEA and BOAC. The findings were accepted by the then Conservative Government and the British Airways Group was formed in September 1972. The two airlines officially merged on 1 April 1974 forming British Airways.
|Airline||British European Airways|
|Destinations||Domestic and European|
|Period of operation||1946 - 1974|
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