It’s not always easy for international airlines to simultaneously operate subsidiary airlines. Earlier this year, we reported that Air France’s subsidiary low-cost carrier; Joon, had flown its last flight. It’s not the first time this has happened either. Remember British Airways’ venture into the low-cost market with its ‘GO’ airline? 18 years since it flew its last service, we’re taking a look at what happened to its fleet.
A look back at GO Fly
In 1998, British Airways decided to dip its toes in the low-cost carrier market, which had boomed in the 1990s with the likes of Southwest Airlines and Ryanair dominating this space. GO Fly (marketed as GO) was launched by America businesswoman, Barbara Cassini, and flew from its base in Stansted to destinations around Europe as well as from Bristol and East Midlands.
It was BA’s attempted to hijack success from its opposition: easyJet and Ryanair.
GO took its first flight from Stansted airport to Rome in May 1998. Over the course of its operations, it acquired 28 aircraft in its fleet, including one British Aerospace 146-200 and 27 Boeing 737s.
But, in 2001, unable to really grasp the concept of the low-cost model, British Airways sold GO to the investment firm i3 for a management buyout of £100m. i3 then sold the airline onto its rival easyJet in 2002.
Rod Eddington, Chief Executive of British Airways at the time, spoke to the BBC about the plans to sell GO, stating:
“As a no-frills operator, however, [GO] simply does not fit in our full-service strategy.”
Focus on the fleet
In April 1998, GO received the first of its Boeing 737-300s, named ‘Go Now / All Go’ and ‘Go Today / Just Go’, which flew with the fleet for the entire lifespan of the airline. The following month, it received another 737; ‘Go Together / Ready To Go’ and continued creatively naming its aircraft until it had eight in its fleet at the end of 1998.
Of the 1998 aircraft, only three are still active. GO’s aircraft registered G-IGOF was damaged beyond repair in October 2014 after a fire, according to Planespotters. G-IGOI was broken up in 2011, G-IGOE (or ‘Go Together / Ready To Go’) was reported as scrapped whilst the other two of the 1998 fleet are stored.
The 1999-2001 fleet
Between 1999 and 2001, GO acquired 11 more Boeing 737s; five in 1999 and six in 2001.
Six of them are still active, flying with carriers that include Canadian North and Suparna Airlines. The two most interesting cases of the aircraft are those which are now preserved; G-IGOU at Guangzhou, China since March 2018 and G-IGOV at Cotswold Airport since July 2019. The rest of the aircraft have either been stored or scrapped.
2001 was the year that it also acquired its first British Aerospace 146-200. It was named ‘Go Now / Just Go’ and flew from May 2001 until January 2002. It was then sold onto Titan Airways and moved around airlines until 2011 when it was broken up in Costwold Airport.
The final frontier
In 2002, GO acquired another seven Boeing 737s; the first in March and the last in July. Five of these aircraft are still active, whilst G-IGOZ is preserved in Instanbul as a training plane for Turkish Technic where it has been since 2015. G-ODUS was stored in November 2018 after flying five years with Ukraine International Airlines.
Did you ever fly with GO? Do you think BA should have persisted with its low-cost venture? Let us know in the comments.