British Airways celebrates 90 years leading the travel industry

From: British Airways
Published: Tue Aug 25 2009

British Airways celebrates 90 years of leading the travel industry, since Transport & Travel Ltd (a precursor to British Airways) launched the world's first commercial flight which departed from London to Paris on August 25 1919.

Since then, the airline has carried more than 1.2 billion customers on its extensive route network, and become recognised as one of the world's elite carriers.

Paying tribute to the airline, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "British Airways has never lost the pioneering spirit and vision that saw it take to the skies with the world's first daily international flight from London to Paris on this day in 1919.

"Ninety years on, the world's most iconic airline is still proudly flying the flag and remains a great British brand. Many congratulations to all its staff - past and present, on this special day."

British Airways chairman Martin Broughton said: "Over the past nine decades, British Airways has played its part in many historic episodes. We provided the first air links to far-flung capitals in the days of empire, flew Winston Churchill across the Atlantic during wartime, brought Queen Elizabeth back to Britain after the passing of George VI, repeatedly led the way with aircraft innovation and have often proudly transported home our sports teams from success overseas.

"We have a rich history supporting Britain and will carry this forward to our centenary and beyond."

90 years on from that first Paris flight, British Airways now offers up to nine daily flights to the French capital of fashion and romance, all ideal for a Paris holiday British Airways offers great deals on a wide range of Paris hotels, coupled with affordable fares on flights.

The airline is marking its anniversary in a variety of ways. Swarovski, has loaned a giant bejewelled Union Flag to the airline. The stunning 4ft by 2ft artwork is embossed with more than 126,000 crystallized Swarovski Elements and will be in the British Airways arrivals lounge in Terminal 5 until September.

An internal exhibition will showcase memorabilia from nine decades of travel, while customers in Terminal 5 have been treated to members of the BA cabin crew, along with TV personality Kirsty Gallacher, modelling vintage uniforms in the terminal in the run up to its anniversary week.


Notes to Editors:
On August 25, 1919 George Stevenson-Reece became the first fare-paying passenger on a scheduled international flight - from Hounslow Heath to Le Bourget Airport in Paris. He flew in a single Rolls-Royce engined Airco DeHavilland 4A, piloted by Captain E.H. Lawford. Flying time was more than three times what it is today at 2 hours 30 minutes. The fare was 42 guineas return (the equivalent of £1,706 today).

About British Airways / British Airways Holidays Ltd
British Airways Holidays Ltd. is a fully owned subsidiary of British Airways plc, which offers a range of flight routes, hotels, car rental and experiences. With many money-saving special offers available; and the security of travelling with British Airways, British Airways Holidays Ltd can add peace of mind to holiday plans. Working very closely with colleagues at British Airways, British Airways Holidays constantly seeks to exceed customers' expectations, both in terms of the value for money and quality of the service provided.

British Airways / British Airways Holidays Ltd PR contact:
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