British Airways celebrates 100 years with digital archive
28 May 2019
British Airways has opened its archive collection to the public for the first time to share never-before-seen memories of key moments from its 100-year history to celebrate its centenary year. The British Airways Centenary Archive Collection brings to life events beginning with the first international flight of its predecessor airline, Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited (AT&T) on 25 August 1919.
BEA Hardy Amies uniform - 1967
The archive comprises hundreds of thousands of documents and pieces of memorabilia from British Airways and its predecessor companies British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), British European Airways (BEA), British South American Airways (BSAA) and the pre-war Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd.
The digital archive shares never-before-seen memories of key moments from its 100-year history from the first AT&T flight carrying a journalist, Devonshire cream, leather and several brace of grouse, to the latest images of its brand-new Club Suite.
BA is hosting a special centenary hub that showcases hundreds of historical images and videos, as well as articles explaining the evolution of British Airways - from a single-engine De Havilland aircraft flying the world’s first daily international scheduled flight to Paris, to a leading airline flying more than 45 million passengers a year to more than 200 destinations across the world.
The digital collection includes images and videos of aircraft through decades, photographs of uniforms worn by generations of cabin crew and pilots, behind-the-scenes memorabilia from Royal and Olympic flights, and artefacts from Concorde - the most famous aircraft that ever flew.
Her Majesty The Queen on Concorde in 1977
Ahead of the launch of the Centenary Archive Collection British Airways had the honour of hosting a visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at the airline’s headquarters at Heathrow, to mark the centenary.
British Airways plans to develop and add to the site throughout its centenary year, by adding recollections written by current and retired colleagues, carefully preserved records, documents and images from its extensive archive.
“Air travel has always been about connecting people around the world, and this website will share the stories, achievements and memories of 100 years of British Airways history,” said Alex Cruz, chairman and CEO of British Airways.
“Since 1919, British Airways and its forerunners pioneered commercial air travel, and our Centenary Archive Collection will continue to evolve as we look forward to the next 100 years of aviation,” he added
The British Airways Heritage Collection is managed by retired British Airways’ colleagues based at the airline’s head office near Heathrow. The airline is hosting a range of activities and events throughout the year to mark its 100th birthday.
The airline is also hosting BA 2119 - a programme, which will lead the debate on the future of flying and explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.
Welsh guards on BEA aircraft
This year the airline has also unveiled four aircraft re-painted in heritage liveries as part of its Centenary celebrations – a British Overseas Airways Corporate (BOAC) liveried Boeing 747, an Airbus A319 in a British European Airways (BEA) livery, and two further Boeing 747 aircraft painted in the Negus and Landor livery designs. The archive can be accessed through the web site - https://www.britishairways.com/100/centenary-collection
The Centenary activity is taking place alongside the airline’s current five-year £6.5 billion investment, which includes installation of the best quality WiFi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. The airline has also revealed a brand-new business class seat with direct aisle access, the Club Suite, which will debut on the Airbus A350 later this year.