Monday, 4 May 2009

British Airways

British Airways,
Once self titled ‘The World’s favourite Airline’ is the national airline of the United Kingdom,  it has a vast network and a large fleet of over 200 aircraft.  It’s recently been dogged by strike after strike by a large number of it’s cabin crew, a situation that’s not looking  likely to get better within the foreseeable future.
Recent mergers and amalgamations with Iberia and America Airlines put the airline back on a more secure financial footing after many years of loss,  however it’s doing little for enhancing the reputation of the big conglomerate bully boy image it’s been saddled with.




Service on-board is a rather hit or miss affaire,  sometimes it’s great and other times it’s appalling.  The more senior the cabin crew the more of a superiority attitude they seem to exude. 


Our Rating  3 stars.




Expect reasonable meal service on most medium and long haul flights,  little on European sectors.  Club seats are comfortable, but the menu’s are a little old and uninspiring.  First, however is still a beacon of good traditional service and comfort.   Especially good are the all business class services from London City to New York, via Ireland outward.


They are currently rolling out a new economy service and cabin on their long haul aircraft,  which may go some way to reduce the number of complaints received.
 
As an airline, it has a rich and vibrant past,  including some of the amazing aircraft it flew,  from the tri jet wonder of Trident to the super sonic delight of Concorde.    

Explore our past

Stratocruiser aircraft in flight..
Celebrating 90 years of flying with pride
British Airways can trace its origins back to the birth of civil aviation, the pioneering days following World War I. In the 90 years that have passed since the world's first schedule air service on 25 August 1919, air travel has changed beyond all recognition. Each decade saw new developments and challenges, which shaped the path for the future, Take a look at the different eras of air travel, to see how British Airways became the airline it is today.
Air Transport & Travel De Havilland DH16 at Hounslow Heath.
1910 - 1919
On 25 August 1919, British Airways' forerunner company, Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited (AT&T), launched the world's first daily international scheduled air service between London and Paris. That initial proving flight, operated by a single-engined de Havilland DH4A biplane taking off from Hounslow Heath, close to its successor company's current Heathrow base, carried a single passenger and cargo that included newspapers, devonshire cream and grouse.
Handley Page 0/400.
1920 - 1929
In 1924, Britain's four main fledgling airlines, which had by then evolved into Instone, Handley Page, The Daimler Airway and British Marine Air Navigation Company, merged to form Imperial Airways Limited. By 1925, Imperial Airways was providing services to Paris, Brussels, Basle, Cologne and Zurich.
Imperial Airways Short S23 C Class Flying Boat G-ADUT Centaurus.
1930 - 1939
In the mid 1930s, a handful of smaller UK air transport companies merged to form the original privately-owned British Airways Limited, which became Imperial Airways' principal UK competitor on European routes, operating out of another new airport, Gatwick. Following a government review, Imperial Airways and British Airways were nationalised in 1939 to form British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC).
BOAC Lockheed Constellation G-AHEK Berwick II at Heathrow.
1940 - 1949
Post-war, BOAC continued to operate longhaul services, apart from routes to South America which were flown by British South American Airways (BSAA). This company was eventually merged back into BOAC in 1949. Continental european and domestic flights were flown by a new airline, British European Airways (BEA).
BOAC Handley Page Hermes G-ALDM Hero over the Isle of Wight.
1950 - 1959
BOAC and BEA were the principal British operators of scheduled international passenger and cargo services and they preserved Britain's pioneering role in the industry. The 1950s saw the world enter the passenger jet era, led by BOAC, with the Comet 1 flying to Johannesburg in 1952, halving the previous flight time.
BEA Hawker Siddeley Trident 1 G-ARPC.
1960 - 1969
Following the formation of the Air Transport Licensing Board in 1960, other British airlines began to operate competing scheduled services. Eventually several of the smaller domestic airlines, including Cambrian Airways and BKS (later Northeast Airlines) passed into BEA's ownership.
British Airways Cargo Boeing 707-336C G-ASZF.
1970 - 1979
British Caledonian was born in 1970, when the original Caledonian Airways took over British United Airways. Two years later, the businesses of BOAC and BEA were combined under the newly formed British Airways Board, with the separate airlines coming together as British Airways in 1974.
British Airways Boeing 747-436.
1980 - 1989
The Civil Aviation Act of 1980 was passed to enable the Government to sell its shares in British Airways. Lord King was appointed Chairman in 1981 and charged by the Secretary of State for Trade to take all necessary steps to restore the company to profitability and prepare it for privatisation.
British Airways Boeing 757-236 G-BMRC wearing Barcelona Olympics livery.
1990 - 1999
The 1990s brought the first Gulf War in 1991, much activity in working with other airlines, the sale of Caledonian Airways, and the advent of Codeshare and franchise operations. The airline unveiled its new corporate identity featuring aircraft livery taken from images from around the world.
British Airways Boeing 747-436 G-CIVX.
2000 - present
The British Airways Concorde fleet was finally retired, bringing with it the end of the world’s only supersonic passenger services, which has yet to be replaced. British Airways’ fleet of seven Concordes was dispersed for preservation to different worldwide locations. Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge retired as Chairman of British Airways, and was replaced by Martin Broughton.
Air Transport Auxilliary aicraft and pilot.
History of ATA
The ATA was founded by British Airways Limited in May 1938 and organised by them into an operational unit at the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. It was thus a civilian organisation which made an enormous contribution to victory by taking over from service pilots the task of ferrying RAF and RN warplanes from factories to maintenance units and front-line squadrons and back again from the squadrons if damaged or due for overhaul.
British Airways Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Base
F J W M Total
Airbus A318 2 0 32 0 32 LCY
Airbus A319 33 0 0 0 132 132 LHR
0 15 0 129 144 LGW
Airbus A320-200 41 3 0 15 0 137 152 LHR
0 0 0 156 156
Airbus A321-200 11 0 15 0 169 184 LHR
0 0 0 188 188
Airbus A380-800 12 TBA LHR
Boeing 737–400 19 13 132 145 LGW
Boeing 747–400 57 14 70 30 177 291 LHR
14 52 36 227 329
Boeing 767-300ER 21 0 24 24 144 192 LHR
0 26 0 221 247
Boeing 777–200 3 17 48 24 127 216 LHR
Boeing 777-200ER 43 14 48 40 127 229 LHR
0 48 24 214 286 LGW
Boeing 777-300ER 3 3 14 56 44 183 297 LHR
Boeing 787–8 8 0 42 51 90 183 LHR
Boeing 787–9 16 TBA LHR
Total 233 42
In February 2011, the average age of the BA fleet was 11.9 years.

Incidents and accidents - November 1974, British Airways Flight 870 from Dubai to Heathrow, operated by a Vickers VC10, was hijacked in Dubai, landing at Tripoli for refuelling before flying on to Tunis. One hostage was murdered before the hijackers eventually surrendered after 84 hours. Captain Jim Futcher was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal, the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators Founders Medal, the British Air Line Pilots Association Gold Medal and a Certificate of Commendation from British Airways for his actions during the hijacking, having returned to the aircraft to fly it knowing the hijackers were on board.
On 10 September 1976, a Trident 3B on British Airways Flight 476, flying from London Heathrow to Istanbul collided in mid-air with an Inex Adria DC9-32 near Zagreb, Croatia, resulting in the 1976 Zagreb mid-air collision. All 54 passengers and 9 crew members on the BA aircraft died. This is the only fatal accident to a British Airways aircraft since the company's formation in 1974.

On 24 June 1982, Flight 9, a Boeing 747–200, G-BDXH, City of Edinburgh flew through a cloud of volcanic ash and dust from the eruption of Mount Galunggung, causing extensive damage to the aircraft, including the failure of all four engines. The crew managed to glide the plane out of the dust cloud and restart all four of its engines, although one later had to be shut down again. The aircraft made an emergency landing at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport just outside Jakarta. No-one was injured.


On 10 June 1990, Flight 5390, a BAC One-Eleven flight between Birmingham and Málaga, suffered a windscreen blowout due to the fitting of incorrect bolts the previous day. The Captain suffered major injuries after being partially sucked out of the aircraft, however the co-pilot landed the plane safely at Southampton Airport. Two cabin crew members held on to the captains legs which prevented him being pulled out to his death.


On 2 August 1990, Flight 149 landed at Kuwait International Airport four hours after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, leading to the capture of the passengers and crew, and the destruction of the aircraft. Many believe the aircraft should never have been sent,  with knowledge of the unrest in the region widely known before it departed.


On 11 December 2000, British Airways Flight 2069 from London Gatwick Airport to Nairobi experienced a hijack attempt whilst flying over Sudan. A Kenyan student with a mental illness burst into the cockpit of the Boeing 747. As three crew fought to restrain the man, the auto-pilot became disengaged and the jet dropped 10,000 feet (3,000 m) with 398 passengers on board. However, with the help from the passengers, the pilots recovered the aircraft, successfully restrained the Kenyan with handcuffs and the plane landed safely. Passengers aboard the plane included English singer Bryan Ferry and socialite Jemima Khan.
On 19 February 2005, the No. 2 engine of a Boeing 747–400 G-BNLG surged (whereby the airflow through the engine reverses) and suffered internal damage just after take off from Los Angeles on a flight to London Heathrow with 16 crew and 351 passengers on board. The crew shut the engine down and continued the climb and continued the flight, in line with BA's standard operating procedures for 4 engined aircraft. Because it was unable to attain normal cruising speeds and altitudes, the aircraft diverted to Manchester Airport, England. The United States Federal Aviation Administration had been critical of the Captain's decision and accused BA of operating the aircraft in an non airworthy condition. In June 2006 the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch recommended that the UK and US authorities review the policy on flight continuation and give clear guidance. This has not happened but the FAA have accepted the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority’s determination that the aircraft was airworthy.


The damaged British Airways Flight 38On 17 January 2008, British Airways Flight 38, a Boeing 777-200ER G-YMMM, flying from Beijing to London, crash-landed approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) short of London Heathrow Airport's runway 27L, and slid onto the runway's threshold. This resulted in damage to the landing gear, the wing roots, and the engines, resulting in the first hull loss of a Boeing 777. There were 136 passengers and 16 crew on board. 1 serious and 12 minor injuries were sustained. The initial report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch stated that the engines repeatedly failed to respond to commands for more thrust from both the autothrottle system and from manual intervention, beginning when the aircraft was at an altitude of 600 feet (180 m) and 2 miles (3.2 km) from touchdown. In September 2008, it was revealed that ice in the fuel might have caused the crash. In early 2009, Boeing sent an update to aircraft operators, identifying the problem as specific to the Rolls-Royce engine oil-fuel flow heat exchangers.

Celebrating Concorde
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About Concorde
Concorde used the most powerful pure jet engines flying commercially. The Aircraft's four engines took advantage of what is known as ‘reheat’ technology, which added fuel to the final stage of the engine. This produced the extra power required for take-off and the transition to supersonic flight.
Concorde measures nearly 204ft in length and stretched between 6 and 10 inches in flight due to heating of the airframe. It was painted in a specially developed white paint to accommodate these changes and to dissipate the heat generated by supersonic flight.
In November 1986 a British Airways Concorde flew around the world, covering 28,238 miles in 29 hours, 59 minutes.
More than 2.5m passengers flew supersonically on British Airways Concorde flights.
Concorde was subjected to 5,000 hours of testing before it was first certified for passenger flight, making it the most tested aircraft ever.
Concorde’s fastest transatlantic crossing was on 7 February 1996 when it completed the New York to London flight in 2 hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds.
On 24 October 2003, British Airways withdrew Concorde, bringing to a close the world’s only supersonic passenger service. The final scheduled commercial flight was BA002 from JFK operated by G-BOAG. BA’s fleet of seven aircraft were subsequently dispersed for preservation at Barbados (AE), Edinburgh (AA), Filton (AF), Manchester (AC), New York (AD) and Seattle (AG) with one (AB) remaining at Heathrow.
Concorde facts
Capacity 100 passengers and 2.5 tonnes of cargo
Seating 100 seats, 40 in the front cabin and 60 in the rear cabin
Range 4,143 miles (6,667 kms)
Engines Four Rolls-Royce/SNECMA Olympus 593s, each producing 38,000lbs of thrust with reheat
Take-off speed 250mph (400kph)
Cruising speed 1,350mph (2,160kph/Mach Two) up to 60,000 ft
Landing speed 187mph (300kph)
Length 203ft 9ins (62.1m)
Wing span 83ft 8ins (25.5m)
Height 37ft 1in (11.3m).
Fuselage width 9ft 6ins (2.9m)
Fuel capacity 26,286 Imperial gallons (119,500 litres)
Fuel consumption 5,638 Imperial gallons (25,629 litres) per hour
Maximum take-off weight 408,000lbs (185 tonnes)
Landing gear Eight main wheels, two nose wheels
Flight crew Two pilots, one flight engineer
Cabin crew Six
First commercial flight London Heathrow to Bahrain, BA300 on 21 January 1976 (Captain Norman Todd)
Last commercial flight New York JFK to London Heathrow, BA2 on 24 October 2003 (Captain Mike Bannister)