de Havilland Aircraft Company DH106 Comet in BOAC livery

Airlines

Browse British commercial airline profiles

British Overseas Airways Corporation

British Overseas Airways Corporation

The British Overseas Airways Corporation - abbreviated to BOAC - was founded in November 1939 following the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd. The aircraft were painted in white and blue and carried Imperial's 'Speedbird' logo. Initially BOAC flew flying boats and, post-war, converted military aircraft such as the Avro Lancastrian (a civilian version of the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber). On 1 August 1946 the Civil Aviation Act received Royal Assent in Britain, splitting BOAC's operations into BOAC (flying long haul routes including to North America), British European Airways or BEA (flying domestic and European routes) and British South American Airways or BSAA (flying to South America and the Caribbean); BSAA merged back into BOAC in 1949. In the 1950s BOAC flew the Bristol Britannia and introduced the first commercial jet airliner - the de Havilland Comet - in May 1952. By the 1960s the... Read more about British Overseas Airways Corporation

British European Airways

British European Airways

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... Read more about British European Airways

Monarch Airlines

Monarch Airlines

Monarch Airlines (Monarch) was formed on 5 June 1967 by two former directors of British Eagle International Airlines. The airline was founded as a charter and scheduled airline and based at Luton in Bedfordshire. The aircraft carried a white, black and gold livery with a stylised 'Monarch' crown emblem. The airline began with two Bristol Britannia aircraft, with the first commercial flight taking place on 5 April 1968. Within a year Monarch had acquired an additional four Bristol Britannia aircraft. By 1971 the company expanded the fleet, purchasing three second-hand Boeing 720 jet aircraft. The Bristol Britannia fleet was retired by 1976 and replaced with two additional Boeing 720s and two additional British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) 1-11 jets. In the 1980s the airline expanded rapidly, establishing bases at London Gatwick, Glasgow, Manchester and Berlin in Germany and extending routes to Spain, the Balearic Islands and... Read more about Monarch Airlines

British Airtours

British Airtours

In April 1969 British European Airways (BEA) formed a new subsidiary charter airline company, called BEA Airtours Ltd (Airtours). Airtours sought to target the expanding package tour market (providing flights and accommodation) with a fleet of nine Comet 4B aircraft. The first fare-carrying flight - a Comet 4B - departed Gatwick to Palma on 6 March 1970. Between 1971 and 1973 Airtours took delivery of seven former-British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) Boeing 707-436 aircraft, replacing four of Airtours' original Comet 4Bs. Following the merger of BEA and BOAC the company was renamed British Airtours and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Airways. In the late 1970s Airtours began replacing its older fleet with newer Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft. By 1980 Airtours started replacing its ageing Boeing 707 fleet with smaller Boeing 737 aircraft and it wasn't until 1984 that Airtours acquired a new wide-body aircraft,... Read more about British Airtours

British Airways

British Airways

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 (BA) to form a combined BOAC and BEA fleet. Within two years, on 21 January 1976, British Airways inaugurated Concorde operations and the aircraft remained the flagship of the fleet until retirement in 2003. Concorde flights to the United States commenced the following year. For the rest of the decade the BA fleet was expanded, taking on Lockheed Tristar, BAC 1-11 and Boeing 737 and 757 aircraft. In 1980, following a hike in fuel prices, many of BA's older aircraft were sold off. The airline started... Read more about British Airways