British Airways

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British Airways Plc.
British Airways logo
British Airways Airbus A380-800
IATA code : BA
ICAO code :
  • BAW
  • SHT (domestic flights)
  • XMS (Christmas charter flights )
Call sign :
  • SHUTTLE (domestic flights)
  • SANTA (Christmas charter flights )
Founding: 1974
Seat: London , UK
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 
Turnstile :
Home airport : London Heathrow
Company form: Plc.
ISIN : GB0001290575
IATA prefix code : 125
Management: Alejandro Cruz de Llano ( CEO )
Number of employees: 43,125 (2017)
Sales: £ 12.2 billion (2017)
Balance sheet total: £ 1.4 billion (2017)
Passenger volume: 45.1 million (2017)
Alliance : Oneworld Alliance
Frequent Flyer Program : Executive Club
Fleet size: 259 (+ 53 orders)
Aims: National and international

British Airways (short BA ) is the national airline of the United Kingdom , based in London and based on the London Heathrow Airport . It is one of the world's largest airlines and a founding member of the oneworld aviation alliance . Together with Iberia and Vueling , it forms the Holding International Airlines Group (IAG).


First years

The history of British Airways begins with the merger of Instone , Handley Page , Daimler Airway and British Air Marine Navigation to form Imperial Airways on March 31, 1924, which offered intercontinental flights. In 1935, four British airlines offering flight service within Europe merged to form British Airways . Under a law passed by Parliament, Imperial Airways and British Airways were nationalized in 1939 and merged to form the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). In August 1946, intra-European air traffic was spun off from the group under the name British European Airways (BEA). A helicopter service called British Airways Helicopters was founded in 1964, and its duties included sea rescue.

The jet age

British Airways Vickers Viscount in 1975
British Airways
Lockheed L-1011 TriStar in 1986

In 1967, BEA took over BKS Air Transport ( Northeast Airlines from November 1970 ) and Cambrian Airways in order to secure further regional transport routes. BEA founded BEA Airtours, later British Airtours, at the beginning of 1969, which offered charter and travel flights. On September 1, 1972, BOAC and BEA were merged to form today's British Airways, the first appearance under the new name took place on April 1, 1974. In March 1976, the subsidiaries Cambrian Airways and Northeast Airlines went into British Airways.

In July 1979 the British government announced its plans to rapidly privatize British Airways. However, massive losses due to the ongoing recession delayed these plans. Due to the rapid and massive increase in fuel prices as a result of the ongoing economic crisis, BA took drastic measures to ensure the survival of the company. In the short term, unprofitable routes were discontinued, staff were cut and aircraft were decommissioned; in the medium term, the company underwent extensive restructuring by May 1982 into various business areas with their own business plans. On May 1, 1984, the company became British Airways Plc. and was thus completely privatized. In the second half of the 1980s, the company was doing well economically, so that investments in other airlines were increasingly sought. In addition, the company's own branding has been revised and modernized.

Internal German Service

As an allied airline, British Airways also operated domestic German flight connections until 1992. Since the merger of BEA and BOAC in 1974, routes from Berlin-Tempelhof to Stuttgart , Düsseldorf , Cologne / Bonn , Hanover and Bremen have been flown with the BAC 1-11 . In September 1975 the company moved from Tempelhof to Tegel . In the summer months, the island of Sylt was also served once a day . With the 1982 summer flight schedule, Boeing 737-200s were used for the first time , gradually replacing the BAC 1-11. In April 1984 British Airways began operating charter flights for local tour operators from Berlin-Tegel to the Mediterranean.

In 1986, 44-seat turboprop aircraft of the type HS748 replaced the jets on the routes to Bremen , Hanover , Münster / Osnabrück and Sylt and also connected Berlin with Manchester and Glasgow at the weekend . In 1987 the routes Berlin - Munich and in 1988 also Berlin - Frankfurt am Main (already discontinued in October 1989) were added to the route network. The HS748 was replaced from February 1989 by the more modern and larger 64-seater BAe ATP , with which the Berlin- Nuremberg route was also served from the end of 1989 .

From March 1990 four more modern and quieter Boeing 737-300s leased by the Danish airline Maersk were used. Due to the reunification of Germany, the domestic German air traffic of British Airways was gradually phased out and from the end of the summer flight schedule 1991 all routes served with the BAe ATP were initially discontinued. The routes served by the Boeing 737 from Berlin-Tegel were taken over by the new subsidiary Deutsche BA in summer and autumn 1992 .


Boeing 757-200 of the British Airways with that used in the 1990's "Ethnic" -Bemalungen on the rudder

In 1992 British Airways took over the small German airline Delta Air , which was renamed Deutsche BA . British Airways wanted to make a stronger presence on the German market. However, since this did not generate any profits, it was sold to the Intro management company on June 2, 2003 .

Since the early 1990s, British Airways, like other former state airlines, had to contend with increasing competition from low-cost airlines . However, in the 1992 recession, British Airways was the only international airline in the world that did not make a loss. In contrast to its main European competitors Lufthansa and Air France , British Airways recognized the problem as early as the 1990s and began to revise its concept. Due to the strong competition from EasyJet and Ryanair on intra-European routes, a partial withdrawal from these connections and an increase in intercontinental traffic, especially to Southeast Asia and North America, began .

In 1999 BA signed a franchise agreement with Comair , which has been equipping crews and aircraft in British Airways design ever since, and has held an 18% stake in the airline since 2000. Also in 1999, British Airways co-founded the international aviation alliance oneworld .


Waterside , the seat of British Airways

Partly due to the partial withdrawal from the inner-European market, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair was able to claim for the first time in 2003 that it had carried more passengers than British Airways on connections between Great Britain and continental Europe . The latter tried to counteract this development with the subsidiary BA Citiexpress founded in 2002 . However, since this was in the red, it was renamed BA Connect and repositioned in January 2006 . British Airways now offered flights from £ 25 from all UK airports except London airports. On March 1, 2007, however, the subsidiary, which was still making a loss, was finally sold to the British low-cost airline Flybe . Exceptions to this are the routes from London City Airport , which will continue to be operated under the new name BA Cityflyer . At the same time, British Airways took over 15 percent of the shares in Flybe.

On October 24, 2003, British Airways was the last airline to stop operating Concorde . As a result of the crash of an Air France Concorde in Paris in July 2000 and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 , the operating costs could no longer be covered. In addition, the aviation group EADS decided to drastically increase the cost of spare parts.

On November 12th, 2009 British Airways and Iberia announced their merger to become the world's third largest airline. The two companies targeted completion of the $ 7 billion merger by the end of 2010. On April 8, 2010, the merger agreement was signed. Accordingly, both companies will be incorporated into a new company called the International Airlines Group , in which British Airways will hold 55% and Iberia 45%. In the medium term - although both companies will be retained - an annual savings potential of 400 million euros will be exploited.


Economy class on board a British Airways Airbus A321-200

In July 2010, British Airways and Iberia received approval from the EU to merge economically under a common umbrella company. The former BA boss William Walsh is the CEO of the International Airlines Group. Both companies keep their individual brands and products, the name of the holding company is not used for this. On January 21, 2011, the merger was completed with the entry in the commercial register .

Also in July 2010, British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines received approval from the EU and the US Department of Transport to operate the transatlantic business in the form of a cooperative alliance.

In January 2014, British Airways announced that it would be withdrawing from the cargo-only business under the British Airways World Cargo brand . A corresponding contract with Global Supply Systems for the operation of three Boeing 747-8Fs was terminated accordingly in April 2014.

Business figures

Fiscal year Passenger volume (in millions) Number of employees Turnover (in billions of £ ) Profit / Loss (in £ million)
2004 37 7.6 230
2005 35 52,000 7.8 415
2009 33 42,000 9.0 358
2010 32 38,000 8.0 -425
2011 34,250 40,252 9.987 672
2012 37.580 43.213 10,827 114
2013 39.960 41,857 11,421 284
2014 41,516 43,120 11.719 702
2015 43,323 43,550 11,333 2.508
2016 44.455 43,874 11,443 1,345
2017 45.163 43,125 12.226 1,774
2019 47.710 42,384 15,384 3.504

Participations and alliances

British Airways holds 13.55% in the Spanish airline Iberia , 14.6% in the British low-cost airline Flybe and 9.6% in the South African airline operator Comair . Until 2004 BA also held 18.25 percent of Qantas Airways , to which it has continued to lease seven Boeing 767s . There are franchise agreements with Sun Air of Scandinavia in Denmark. The agreements with GB Airways and Loganair were terminated on March 30, 2008 and October 25, 2008, respectively.

BA had been looking for a way to work more closely with American Airlines since the mid-1990s . The last two attempts to team up with the largest US airline had repeatedly been stopped by government agencies. In July 2010, however, BA initially received permission from the EU to merge with the Spanish Iberia and to operate the transatlantic business with Iberia and American Airlines as a joint business with joint sales pots. This development is generally seen as a key process in repositioning oneself in the economically most important market.


Countries served by BA in 2009

British Airways is one of the few airlines to serve destinations on six continents . Her home base is Terminal 5, which was built especially for her, at London Heathrow Airport . From there and its other London hubs , in addition to many destinations in Europe, there are also flights to cities in North and South America , Africa , Asia and the Near and Middle East . From London City Airport , New York is served by an Airbus A318-100 in a pure business class configuration.

Destinations in the German-speaking region are currently Berlin , Bremen , Düsseldorf , Frankfurt , Hamburg , Hanover , Munich , Stuttgart , Friedrichshafen and Cologne / Bonn in Germany , in Austria Vienna , Salzburg and Innsbruck as well as Basel , Zurich and Geneva in Switzerland .

Code sharing

British Airways has codeshare agreements with the following airlines: ( oneworld members are marked with * )


British Airways Airbus A318 at JFK International Airport New York
British Airways Airbus A318-100
British Airways Airbus A321-200
British Airways Boeing 747-400
British Airways Boeing 777-300ER
British Airways Boeing 787-8

Current fleet

As of July 2020, the British Airways fleet consists of 259 aircraft with an average age of 12.9 years:

Aircraft type number ordered Remarks Seats
( First / Business / Eco + / Eco )
Average age

(July 2020)

Airbus A318-100 01 operated by British Airways Ltd; operates between London City Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport 32 (- / 32 / - / -) 10.9 years
Airbus A319-100 35 G-EUPJ in BEA special paint scheme ; 20 older aircraft will be phased out by 2023
143 (- / - / - / 143)

144 (- / - / - / 144)

18.5 years
Airbus A320-200 67 10 with Sharklets equipped 168 (- / - / - / 168)

171 (- / - / - / 171)

14.1 years
Airbus A320neo 12 10 180 (- / - / - / 180) 01.6 years
Airbus A321-200 18th 154 (- / 23 / - / 131)
205 (- / - / - / 205)
14.8 years
Airbus A321neo 10 03 220 (- / - / - 220) 01.0 years
Airbus A350-1000 06th 12 Delivery from July 2019 331 (- / 56/56/219) 00.7 years
Airbus A380-800 12 As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic , 11 of the 12 machines at Châteauroux Airport are to be temporarily shut down gradually since April 6, 2020 . 469 (14/97/55/303) 06.3 years
Boeing 747-400 09 Will be phased out as soon as possible.

eight aircraft in Oneworld special
paint scheme G-BYGC in BOAC special
paint scheme G-BNLY in Landor retro paint scheme
G-CIVB in Negus retro paint scheme

275 (14/86/30/145)
337 (14/52/36/235)
23.9 years
Boeing 777-200ER 45 G-YMML in "GREAT Festival of Creativity" special paint 224 (14/48/40/122)
275 (- / 48/24/203 )
20.6 years
Boeing 777-300ER 12 299 (14/56/44/185) 07.9 years
Boeing 777X 18th - open -
Boeing 787-8 12 214 (- / 35/25/154) 05.2 years
Boeing 787-9 18th 216 (8/42/39/127) 04.1 years
Boeing 787-10 02 10 256 (8/48/35/165) 00.3 years
total 259 53 12.9 years

Further aircraft are operated independently by the subsidiary BA CityFlyer and in South Africa by Comair on a franchise basis for British Airways.

Fleet policy

British Airways plans to completely retire the Boeing 747-400 from its long-haul fleet by 2024 and replace it with Boeing 787, Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 models.

Former fleet

British Airways Vickers Vanguard in 1976
British Airways Concorde in 1986
British Airways' McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 in 1991
British Airways Boeing 737-400 in 2015

After it was founded, British Airways started using the following types of aircraft from 1974:

Aircraft type Floating Retirement
Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde 1976 2003
Airbus A320-100 1988 2008
BAC 1-11-400 1974 1996
BAC 1-11-510ED 1974 1993
BAe 146 1992 1994
BAe ATP 1988 2008
Boeing 707-300 1974 1984
Boeing 707-400 1974 1981
Boeing 737-200 1977 2001
Boeing 737-300 1988 2009
Boeing 737-400 1991 2015
Boeing 737-500 1996 2009
Boeing 747-100 1974 1999
Boeing 747-200 1977 2003
Boeing 757-200 1983 2011
Boeing 767-200ER 1993 1996
Boeing 767-300ER 1990 2018
Hawker Siddeley Trident 1 1974 1983
Hawker Siddeley Trident 2/3 1974 1985
Hawker-Siddeley HS 748 1975 1990
Lockheed L-1011-1 TriStar 1974 1990
Lockheed L-1011-200 TriStar 1980 1991
Lockheed L-1011-500 TriStar 1979 1987
McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 1988 1999
Vickers VC10 1974 1979
Vickers Super VC10 1974 1981
Vickers Vanguard 1974 1979
Vickers Viscount 700 1974 1975
Vickers Viscount 800 1974 1982

Subsidiary airlines


OpenSkies Boeing 757-200

In 2008 the subsidiary OpenSkies was founded with base at Paris-Orly airport . She operated Boeing 757-200 flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport . In between there was a daily connection between New York and Amsterdam. In July 2008, British Airways expanded the OpenSkies fleet by taking over the French airline L'Avion , with which a code-sharing agreement previously existed. The airline was fully integrated by the beginning of 2009.

BA CityFlyer

BA CityFlyer emerged in 2007 from the subsidiary BA Connect, which was sold to Flybe, and operates exclusively from London City Airport . Overall, national and European destinations are served from there. Since September 2009 BA CityFlyer has replaced its fleet of Avro RJ85 and RJ100 with Embraer 170 and 190 .


British Airways Flight 38 in London on January 17, 2008

In the history of what is now British Airways since 1974, there have been four total aircraft losses due to accidents.

The two predecessor companies recorded 30 (BEA) and 69 (BOAC) total losses due to accidents. Imperial Airways, along with the first British Airways, added 33.

  • On September 10, 1976, a Hawker Siddeley Trident on the flight from London to Istanbul collided with a Douglas DC-9 of Adria Airways in the plane collision from Zagreb . All 176 occupants of both aircraft were killed. The investigative commission later found that the responsible air traffic controller had not noticed the DC-9 due to heavy air traffic.
  • On September 5, 2001, while a British Airways Boeing 777-236ER (G-VIIK) was being refueled at Denver Airport , a fatal incident occurred when a fuel hose came loose. As a result, kerosene escaped from this in an uncontrolled manner, and kerosene vapors ignited at the same time. As a result of the subsequent fire, one of the ground crews suffered serious injuries from which he died six days later (see also British Airways flight 2019 ) .
  • On January 17, 2008, on British Airways Flight 38, a Boeing 777-200ER ( aircraft registration G-YMMM ) coming from Beijing crashed into London Heathrow Airport while approaching with stationary engines about 400 meters before the start of the southern runway on the upstream green area, the landing gear tore off. 136 passengers and 16 crew members were evacuated; 13 people were slightly injured. The cause of the accident was due to ice in the fuel lines. This was solved by increasing the thrust during the approach to London due to storms and clogged the oil heat exchangers responsible for preheating the kerosene.
  • On September 8, 2015, on British Airways flight 2276, engine 1 caught fire on a Boeing 777-200ER (aircraft registration G-VIIO ) when taking off from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas . The 159 passengers and 13 crew members were able to get to safety using emergency slides. The US aviation safety authority NTSB is conducting an investigation. According to the NTSB interim report, the cause of this incident was to be found in the high-pressure compressor of the engine. Parts of the eighth stage of this compressor were found on the runway. The aircraft was found to be repairable and was put back into service.
  • On April 18, 2016, an Airbus A320-200 collided with an unknown object while approaching London Heathrow Airport . According to the pilot, it may have been a private owner's drone who is now being searched for by the police at high speed. The A320-200 landed safely and, after a thorough investigation, continued to operate. This incident resulted in neither injuries nor damage to the aircraft.


In 2006, British Airways was named the best airline in the world by Skytrax , replacing Cathay Pacific in first place.

In December 2007, British Airways was recognized for the third year in a row at the World Travel Awards in the “World's Leading Airline” category. British Airways also won the awards “Europe's Leading First Class Airline” (best first class airline in Europe) and “Europe's Leading Airline Website” (best airline website in Europe). Leaving out the categories related to low-cost or charter airlines, British Airways was nominated in all but one category. In addition, the oneworld aviation alliance has been voted the world's best aviation alliance (“World's Leading Airline Alliance”) for the fifth time in a row since this category was founded. In 2012, British Airways was also named a winner by Skytrax in the “Best Translantic Airline” category.


Allegations of discrimination

In 2006, the airline sparked controversy when it banned the Coptic Orthodox employee Nadia Eweida from wearing a two-centimeter cross pendant, but allowed Sikh members to wear turbans and female Muslims headscarves. The airline announced about this differentiation that crosses do not have to be worn openly in order to live out the Christian religion, while turbans and headscarves cannot be hidden. Other airlines, such as British Midland Airways , have had comparable regulations for a long time. In the meantime, the company has given in and abolished the cross-prohibition. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair advised CEO Martin Broughton to give in.

In November 2006, there was also a case of male discrimination, since according to British Airways guidelines adult men are not allowed to sit next to unaccompanied children for “child welfare reasons” . Relocation requests are made to the men by the flight crew without giving reasons. In the specific case that became known, a departure was refused until the premises were separated. British Airways has issued official statements that as a responsible airline, it is its duty to separate unaccompanied children from men. There are similar guidelines with other airlines, such as Qantas Airways and Air New Zealand .

In 2017, the gender pay gap was 35 percent according to the publication of in-house data required by the Equal Pay Act .

Loss of luggage

A study by the Airport Transport Users Council ranked British Airways as the European airline with the most baggage losses in 2006. According to the BBC , British Airways lost 3,000 pieces of luggage a day in 2006. The London Heathrow hub with its partially outdated infrastructure is a major problem . This problem was to be resolved with the opening of the new Terminal 5 in 2008. The multiple closings of London Heathrow Airport in 2006 due to bad weather and terror warnings must be taken into account separately. The loss rate during such events is significantly higher than under normal circumstances and has a significant impact on the statistics. For example, in June 2007, 12,000 items were lost within one weekend as a result of tightened security measures.

Antitrust penalties

In July 2007, the British Antitrust Agency fined British Airways £ 121.5 million (approx. 180 million euros ). The reason for the highest penalty imposed by the competition authority to date was the illegal collusion of fuel surcharges between British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from August 2004 to January 2006. British Airways has to pay an additional 300 million US dollars (148 million pounds) to the US Department of Justice , which also determined in this case. This brings the total fine to around £ 270 million. British Airways had already announced in advance of the decision that the airline had set aside 350 million pounds as a precaution for possible fines.

Data leak

On September 5, 2018, it was announced that strangers were able to steal 380,000 personal data as well as bank and credit card details from customers who made flight bookings via the website or mobile app between August 21 and September 5.


Counter in Terminal 5 in at London Heathrow Airport
  • British Airways became the first airline in the world to start daily international flight service in 1919 with the London – Paris connection.
  • In 1952, the forerunner of British Airways, BOAC , put the world's first jet passenger aircraft into service on the London Johannesburg route with a De Havilland DH.106 Comet .
  • British Airways was the last airline to stop operating Concorde on October 24, 2003 .
  • British Airways was the first European national carrier to be fully privatized .
  • British Airways offers the world's shortest scheduled scheduled flight between the two northwestern islands of the Orkneys . The British Airways flight 8872 from Westray to the eastern island of Papa Westray lasts for more than 1.5 nautical miles as planned two minutes (departure Westray 09:39, arriving 09:41) and is supported by the Scottish Loganair carried out on behalf of British Airways several times a week . In good winds, a pilot managed the record of just 56 seconds, but with frequent hurricanes the flight can take up to 12 minutes. You cannot book tickets for this flight; the pilot collects 14 pounds directly from the maximum eight passengers on the Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander . (Status: flight plan from March 29, 2009)
  • With an annual turnover of around 1 billion euros, British Airways operates the London - New York route, the world's highest-turnover international route.

See also


  • British Airways at 100: Evolution of a global carrier. In: Airliner World , August 2019; Special section with 42 pages
  • Rainer W. During: 100 years BA: Awarded the Empire wing. In: FliegerRevue , No. 10/2019, pp. 16–22

Web links

Commons : British Airways  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: British Airways  - in the news

Individual evidence

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  2. a b c d e Annual Reports. In: Retrieved March 1, 2018.
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  6. The USA also allow transatlantic alliance. In: July 21, 2010
  7. British Airways axes 747-8 (F) contract with Atlas Air. In: ch-aviation . Retrieved January 20, 2014.
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  41. Interim Report: Accident to Boeing 777-236ER, G-YMMM at London Heathrow Airport on January 17, 2008. In: AAIB (PDF, English).
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  45. ^ NTSB Issues Second Update on British Airways Engine Fire at Las Vegas. NTSB, accessed October 11, 2015 .
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  49. ^ Best Transatlantic Airline 2012. World Airline Award, archived from the original on September 8, 2012 ; accessed on August 31, 2012 .
  50. Revealed: How BA bans men sitting next to children they don't know. Daily Mail , November 4, 2006, accessed November 21, 2006 .
  51. ^ Ban on men sitting next to children. The New Zealand Herald , November 29, 2005, accessed April 7, 2008 .
  52. wage injustice: Ryanair men earn 67 percent more than women. In: Spiegel Online . April 3, 2018, accessed June 3, 2018 .
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  54. ^ Heathrow works to clear bag delay. In: BBC News . October 7, 2006, accessed January 25, 2017 .
  55. BA's price-fix fine reaches £ 270m. In: BBC News . August 1, 2007 (English).
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  57. Customer data theft. Retrieved September 7, 2018 .
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