British Airways

British Airways (BA) is the largest airline in the United Kingdom based on fleet size, or the second largest, behind easyJet, when measured by passengers carried. The airline is based in Waterside near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. In January 2011 BA merged with Iberia, creating the International Airlines Group (IAG), a holding company registered in Madrid, Spain. IAG is the world's third-largest airline group in terms of annual revenue and the second-largest in Europe. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the FTSE 100 Index.

BA was created in 1974 after a British Airways Board was established by the British government to manage the two nationalised airline corporations, British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, and two 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, BA was privatised in February 1987 as part of a wider privatisation plan by the Conservative government. The carrier expanded with the acquisition of British Caledonian in 1987, Dan-Air in 1992, and British Midland International in 2012.

A long-time Boeing customer, BA 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. The centrepiece of the airline's long-haul fleet is the Boeing 777, with 58 in the fleet. BA is the largest operator of the Boeing 747-400, with 41 registered to the airline. It 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.

With the exception of the Boeing 707 and early Boeing 747 variants from BOAC, British Airways inherited a mainly UK-built fleet of aircraft when it was formed in 1974. The airline introduced the Boeing 737 and Boeing 757 into the fleet in the 1980s, followed by the Boeing 747-400, Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 in the 1990s. BA is now the largest operator of Boeing 747-400s, with 57 in its fleet.[14][16] Prior to the introduction of the 787, when Boeing built an aircraft for British Airways, it was allocated the customer code 36, which appeared in their aircraft designation as a suffix, such as 737–436.

In 1991, British Airways placed its first order for 777-200 aircraft, ordering another four for fleet expansion in 2007 at a cost of around US$800 million.[108] BA's first 777s were fitted with General Electric GE90 engines, but BA switched to Rolls-Royce Trent 800s for subsequent aircraft.

Later in 2007, BA announced their order of thirty-six new long-haul aircraft, including twelve Airbus A380s and twenty-four Boeing 787 Dreamliners.[111] Rolls-Royce Trent engines were again selected for both orders with Trent 900s powering the A380s and Trent 1000s powering the 787s. The Boeing 787s will replace 14 of British Airways' Boeing 767 fleet, while the Airbus A380s will replace 20 of BA's Boeing 747-400s and will most likely be used to increase capacity on key routes from London Heathrow.

On 1 August 2008, BA announced orders for six Boeing 777-300ERs and options for four more as an interim measure to cover for delays over the deliveries of their 787-8/9s. Of the six that have been ordered, four will be leased and two will be fully acquired by British Airways.

On 22 April 2013, IAG confirmed that it had signed a memorandum of understanding to order 18 A350-1000 aircraft for British Airways, with an option for a further 18. The aircraft would replace some of the airline's fleet of Boeing 747-400s.[113] Options for 18 Boeing 787 aircraft, part of the original contract signed in 2007, have been converted into firm orders for delivery between 2017 and 2021.

On 26 June 2013, British Airways took delivery of its first 787s. The aircraft began operations to Toronto on 1 September 2013, and began service to Newark on 1 October 2013.[115] BA's first A380 was delivered on 4 July 2013.[116] It began regular services to Los Angeles on 24 September 2013, followed by Hong Kong on 22 October 2013.

The combined International Airlines Group entity (that BA is now a part of), operates around 400 aircraft, carries over 62 million passengers annually, and serves more than 200 destinations.

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