Monday, August 24, 2009

Celebrating 90 Years with British Airways

British Airways celebrates 90 years of leading the travel industry today. On August 25, 1919 the world's first daily international air service was launched from London to Paris, operated by Air Transport & Travel Ltd - a precursor to British Airways.

Since then, the airline has carried more than 1.2 billion customers on its extensive network, and become recognised as one of the world’s elite carriers. Next year, British Airways will celebrate 75 years of flying Down Under. On 20th April, 1935 the first flight took off from London and touched down 12 days later in Brisbane.

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.”

The airline is marking the occasion in various ways. Swarovski, the world’s leading producer of precision-cut crystal, has loaned a giant bejewelled Union Flag to the airline. The stunning 4ft by 2ft artwork is embossed with more than 126,000 crystallised 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 cabin crew and TV personality Kirsty Gallacher modelling vintage uniforms in the terminal in the run up to its anniversary week.

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