British Airways first took to the skies in 1974, the result of a merger between BOAC & BEA. The new airline operated as a nationalised carrier for the next 13 years until it was privatised in 1987.
Following privatisation, British Airways took over first British Caledonian and then Dan Air before buying BMI in 2012.
Although nominally the national airline of the United Kingdom, British Airways’ 3 bases are all located in the London area – London Heathrow, London Gatwick & London City. Domestically, the airline operates between London and Manchester, Leeds/Bradford, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen & Belfast.
British Airways biggest and most important base, and its only hub airport, is London Heathrow just west of London. The main commercial offices of the airline are based at nearby Waterside.
In 2011 British Airways formally merged with Spain’s Iberia Airlines to form a new airline holding company, International Airlines Group. Despite the merger both airlines have retained their own national identities and, externally at least, operate as individual airlines.
British Airways was also instrumental in the creation of One World, one of three global airline alliance groups alongside Sky Team & Star Alliance.
Traditionally, British Airways procured most of its aircraft from the Boeing Corporation and still has the largest fleet of Boeing 747s of any airline. In recent years however the airline has tended to split its orders between Boeing and Airbus from whom the airline has ordered 12 A380s for delivery beginning in 2013. British Airways has also ordered 42 of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner, also for delivery in 2013, which will make it the world’s first airline to operate both aircraft types.
The current CEO of British Airways is Keith Williams while Willie Walsh, who held the position between 2005 & 2011, is now the CEO of parent company IAG.