Airways (BA) is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. It is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations and second largest measured by passengers carried, behind easyJet. The British Airways Board was established in 1971 to control the two nationalised airline corporations, BOAC and BEA, and two smaller, 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, that was sold in February 1987 as part of a privatisation plan by the Conservative Government. The carrier soon expanded with the acquisition of British Caledonian in 1987 and Dan-Air, Gatwick-based carrier, in 1992. A long-time Boeing customer, British Airways ordered 59 Airbus A320 family aircraft in August 1998. In 2007, it purchased 12 Airbus A380s and 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, marking the start of its long-haul fleet replacement.
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The centrepiece of the airline’s long-haul fleet is the Boeing 747-400; with 55 examples in the fleet, British Airways is the largest operator of this type in the world. British Airways 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. British Airways’ parent company, International Airlines Group, is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the FTSE 100 Index.
On 12 November 2009, British Airways confirmed that it had reached a preliminary agreement to merge with Iberia. On 14 July 2010, the European Commission approved the merger under competition law, also allowing American Airlines to co-operate with the merged entity on transatlantic routes to the United States. The merger was completed on 21 January 2011, formally creating the International Airlines Group, IAG, the world’s third-largest airline in terms of annual revenue and the second largest airline group in Europe.
In 2012, IAG purchased British Midland International (BMI) and announced plans to open a new subsidiary based at London City Airport operating Airbus A318s.  British Airways was the 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, Olympics minister Hugh Robertson and London Mayor Boris Johnson, together with footballer David Beckham. History  Main article: History of British Airways A Boeing 747-100 in BOAC-British Airways transition livery.
British Airways (BA) was created in 1974, when the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and British European Airways Corporation (BEA) were combined under the newly formed British Airways Board.  Following two years of fierce competition with British Caledonian, the second-largest airline in Britain at the time, the Government changed its aviation policy in 1976 so the two carriers no longer would compete on long-haul routes.  British Airways and Air France operated the supersonic airliner Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde; the world’s first supersonic passenger service first flew in January 1976 from London Heathrow to Bahrain. 7] Services to the US were inaugurated to Washington Dulles airport on 24 May 1976; flights to New York JFK airport started on 22 September 1977.
A service to Singapore was also operated in co-operation with Singapore Airlines, as a continuation of the flight to Bahrain.  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. 8] A British Airways Hawker Siddeley Trident in transitional scheme with BEA livery but with British Airways titles. In 1981, the airline was instructed to prepare for privatisation by the Conservative government. Sir John King, later Lord King, was appointed Chairman, charged with bringing the airline back into profitability. King was credited with transforming the loss-making giant into one of the most profitable air carriers in the world, while many other large airlines struggled. 9]
The flag carrier was privatised and was floated on the London Stock Exchange in February 1987.  In July 1987, British Airways effected the takeover of Britain’s “second” airline, British Caledonian.  The formation of Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984 created a strong competitor for BA. In 1993, the intense rivalry between British Airways and Virgin Atlantic culminated in the former being sued for libel arising from claims and counter claims over a “dirty tricks” campaign by BA against Virgin.
British Airways’ campaign against Virgin included poaching Virgin Atlantic customers, tampering with private files belonging to Virgin and PR undermining the reputation in the City. Following a libel case, British Airways agreed to pay ? 110,000 damages to Virgin (and ? 500,000 to Branson) and ? 3 million legal costs causing BA management to apologise “unreservedly” for the alleged “dirty tricks” campaign. An action filed in the US in 1993 by Virgin against BA over domination of the trans-Atlantic routes was thrown out in 1999. 12] Six months after the “dirty tricks” campaign, Lord King stepped down as chairman in 1993 and was replaced by former deputy, Colin Marshall, while Robert Ayling took over as CEO.  British Airways’ first Concorde at Heathrow Airport on 15 January 1976. In 1992, British Airways expanded through the acquisition of the financially troubled Dan-Air, giving BA a much larger presence at Gatwick airport. In March 1993, British Asia Airways, a subsidiary based in Taiwan, was formed to operate between London and Taipei.
Additionally in 1993, BA purchased a 25% stake in Australian airline Qantas in March, and acquired Brymon Airways in May to form BA Connect.  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, it is one of the largest airline alliances in the world, behind only SkyTeam and Star Alliance.  Benefits under CEO Robert Ayling’s leadership included cost savings of ? 750m and the establishment of Go Fly in 1998. 14]
However, one year on, in 1999, British Airways reported an 84 percent drop in profits, its worst for seven years.  In March 2000, Robert Ayling was removed from his position and British Airways announced Rod Eddington as his successor; Eddington would make further workforce cuts due to reduced demand following the 11 September attacks in 2001.  In September 2004, BA announced the sale of its Qantas stake.  In September 2005, Willie Walsh, former Aer Lingus pilot and Managing Director, became the Chief Executive Officer of the company. 17] In January 2008, BA unveiled its new subsidiary OpenSkies which takes advantage of the liberalisation of transatlantic traffic rights between Europe and the United States.
As of 2008, OpenSkies flies non-stop from Paris to New York and Washington D. C.  British Airways and Iberia merged in January 2011, forming the International Airlines Group, one of the world’s largest airlines On 30 July 2008, British Airways and Iberia, a Spanish fellow Oneworld partner, announced a merger plan; the two airlines would retain their original brands, similar to KLM and Air France in their merger agreement. 19] An agreement to merge was confirmed in April 2010.  In July 2010, the European Commission and US Department of Transport permitted the merger and to co-ordinate transatlantic routes with American Airlines.  On 6 October 2010, the alliance between British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia formally began operations; the alliance generates an estimated ? 230 million annual cost-saving for BA, in addition to ? 330 million by the Iberia merge.  British Airways ceased trading on the London Stock
Exchange on 21 January 2011, after 23 years as a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. 25] On 21 January 2011, British Airways and Iberia merged, resulting in the world’s third-largest airline in terms of annual revenue and the second largest airline group in Europe.  Prior to merging, British Airways owned a 13. 5% stake in Iberia, thus it received ownership of 55% of the combined International Airlines Group, Iberia’s other shareholders received the remaining 45%.  In September 2010, Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG, announced that IAG is looking at other airlines; and that a shortlist of twelve possible acquisitions existed. 28] In early November 2011, IAG announced an agreement in principle to purchase British Midland International from Lufthansa.  Fleet  British Airways 747-400 and 777 aircraft at London Heathrow Terminal 5
With the exception of the Boeing 707 and early Boeing 747 variants from BOAC, the airline as formed in 1972-4 inherited a mainly UK-built fleet of aircraft. The airline introduced the Boeing 737 and Boeing 757 into the fleet in the 1980s, followed by the Boeing 747–400 (British Airways is the largest operator with 57), Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 in the 1990s. 11] Boeing-built aircraft for British Airways are allocated the customer code 36, which appears in their aircraft designation as a suffix, such as 737–436, 747–436 and 777–236.  Although British Airways utilises a large Boeing fleet, it has always operated aircraft from other manufacturers.  British built aircraft were transferred from BEA (e. g. Trident) and BOAC (e. g. VC10), and in the 1980s the airline operated the Lockheed L-1011.  It also operated the DC-10 and Airbus A320-100 through the acquisition of British Caledonian Airways in the 1980s.
In August 1998, British Airways placed its first direct Airbus order, for 59 A320/A319s, to replace its own ageing fleet of Boeing 737s and A320-100s.  British Airways replaced the L-1011 and DC-10 tri-jet fleet with more fuel-efficient, twinjet, Boeing 767 and 777 aircraft in the 1990s. In September 2007, BA placed its first order for long-haul Airbus jets, consisting of 12 firm orders for Airbus A380s and seven options.  The Boeing 757 was withdrawn from British Airways service in late 2010. 85] British Airways will take delivery of its first Airbus A380 in July 2013 and have three in service by the end of the year.  It will begin regular services to Los Angeles on 15 October 2013, followed by Hong Kong from 15 November 2013.  The combined International Airlines Group entity, that BA is now a part of, operates over 400 aircraft, carries over 62 million passengers annually, and serves more than 200 destinations.  As of May 2013 the British Airways fleet includes the following aircraft.