British Airways 100th Anniversary – How Will The Airline Change?

As British Airways rapidly approaches its 100th birthday next August, one has to look back at quite the adventure that the brand has been on, and what it holds in store for the next 100 years.

A380 Display
A British Airways A380 flying with the Red Arrows. Photo: Airwolfhound

The story so far

Now, keen readers will realise that the first flight under the BA name actually was in 1974, but the real starting point was way back before then. On August 25th, 1919, a tiny airline was founded called Aircraft Transport and Travel (Air travel was such a new concept back then that they had to clearly define what the company did!). It only operated for a year before going bankrupt, but it was purchased by a new group called Daimler Airway, which following a few more mergers ended up as Imperial Airways in 1924.

british airways new uniform british airways a350 british airways 100th anniversary
An old poster for Imperial Airways. Look how many stops it required to do the Kangaroo Route.

At the start of World War 2, it was turned into the British Overseas Airways Corporation. In 1974, it merged again (with the British European Airways) to form the BA we know and love today.

They also had an attempt at starting a low-cost carrier called Go! That ultimately failed as they couldn’t quite figure the business model out.

Their usage of the Concorde in their fleet is also worth mentioning!

In 2010, BA merged with Iberia to form International Airline Group, which today has a host of airlines under its stewardship (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, LEVEL among others).

They currently operate 275 aircraft and fly to 183 destinations.

The British Airways 767 is scheduled to make its last flight before the end of the year.

Recently, BA announced that it will be investing 4.5 billion pounds over the next five years. What can we expect from this British flag carrier?

The new uniforms

It has been announced that British designer Ozwald Boating will be designing new uniforms for British Airways. He is the youngest tailor to have a store in the famous Savile Row, and the first tailor to host a catwalk collection at Paris Fashion Week.

british airways new uniform british airways a350 british airways 100th anniversary
Ozwald Boateng photographed by Neale Haynes at London Heathrow sept 2018.

With 32,000 employees, this is quite the opportunity for the brand.

“I am really excited about creating this new uniform for British Airways. It is important for me to create something that makes all of British Airways’ 32,000 uniform-wearing employees across the world excited, at the same time as enabling me to really demonstrate my skills as a designer” – Ozwald Boateng OBE

The new fleet

Not to be caught out by the new interiors of Air France, BA has also decided to expand and retrofit their fleet.

British Airways first class
The new First Class on BA. Photo: British Airways

They will be taking ownership of 72 new craft over the next decade:

Plane Type Orders
Airbus A320neo 20
Airbus A321neo 10
Airbus A350-1000 18
Boeing 777-300ER 3
Boeing 787-10 12

And one Boeing 787-8 has yet to be delivered.

They also plan to completely upgrade the rest of their fleet with new interiors. We expect them to fully retire their Boeing 747 fleet.

B747-400 BA
British Airways is the worlds largest operator of the B747-400.

And it’s not just new planes too. BA has committed to bringing power and WIFI to every seat on every plane over the next five years.

Plus, a new club world seat that has direct aisle access.

BA A350 Club World with direct aisle access.
BA A350 Club World with direct aisle access.

The new routes

Recently, we saw British Airways follow through with opening old routes, such as the one to Osaka (Japan), last run in 1994.

As Brexit comes into effect, the role of LCC’s may change and we might see the rise again of British Airways as a popular carrier in England, beating off the likes of Easy Jet and Ryanair.

The new partners 

British Airways is also looking to make new partnerships. Currently, as part of its Oneworld alliance, they have partnerships with 20 airlines, we can expect to expand into new regions as new airlines rise to power.

As IAG grows, we can expect BA to have more partners to work with and offer more routes to passengers. It’s possible that a further merger outside of Europe may occur, with possible growth opportunities in Africa and Asia.

What is in store for the next 100 years

It’s hard to say how much the airline will change over the next 100 years (Set your alarm to 2119) but we like to think the following might be possible:

  • New hubs, as British Airways gets closer with the other airlines in its group, we might see IAG take over and merge all of their airlines together.
  • The resurgence of Sub-sonic jets, or even Concorde 2.0
  • Reaching for the moon with Sub-Orbital Jets. Less friction in low earth orbit and can travel London to Sydney in 2 hours.