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History of British European Airways (Kindle)

Aviation Aviation Reference Civil Aviation Colour eBooks

By Charles Woodley
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 154.4 MB (.mobi)
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781783405749
eBook Released: 1st August 2007

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BEA was formed in 1946 and took over most UK domestic and European routes under the British government's nationalisation policy. It began operations with a fleet of outdated and hopelessly uneconomic passenger aircraft that were derivatives of wartime types such as the DC-3, Avro Viking and Rapide. By the end of 1955 the airline had re-equipped with more modern types such as the jet-prop Viscount and moved into a profit for the first time. From 1960 onwards the airline introduced larger jets such as the Comet, Trident and BAC 1-11. BEA merged with the British Overseas Airways Corporation in 1974 to form British Airways. This book looks at BEA's predecessors, its formation and early operation from Croydon and Northolt and the move to the newly-opened London Heathrow. The evolving structure is explained with chapters covering engineering bases, terminals, European and domestic services, cargo services and helicopter operations. The aircraft flown are all described in detail and the book includes anecdotes from former crew and ground-staff, a full fleet list and is highly illustrated throughout.

This interesting volume will be welcomed by civil aviation enthusiasts, model makers as well as ex employees of the airline, together with those researching the airline in any shape or form. I must admit, the book brought back many memories for me. As a child, I lived close to Heathrow and often watched BEA aircraft making their final approaches and years later as a trainee in the travel industry, I attended BEA ticketing courses, booked hundreds of passengers and often travelled on with this very British airline myself.

BEA was originally formed in 1946, when as part of the government's nationalisation policy, it took over most UK domestic and European routes from the smaller regional airlines. Initially flying with a fleet of outdated and often uneconomic aircraft, such as the DC-3, Avro Viking and Rapide, it had re-equipped with the more modern jet-prop Viscount towards the end of 1955 and achieved a more stable financial footing . By the early 1960’s the airline introduced larger jets such as the Comet, Trident and BAC 1-11and in 1974 went on to merge with BOAC to form the much larger British Airways still in existence today.

The volume includes what a remarkable fleet list, with full details of aircraft types, serial numbers, purchases and disposals too. There is a fascinating section on the airline’s predecessors and the early operations from the both Croydon and Northolt before the move to the newly-opened Heathrow. All aspects of the aviation business are covered in the publication and the reader will therefore find useful information on engineering bases, terminals, European and domestic passenger and cargo services as well as helicopter operations.

There are of course numerous black and white and colour archive photographs of aircraft, equipment, advertising media, route maps and personalities too. The anecdotes from former crew and ground-staff add the human element, making this a valuable reference work for enthusiast’s libraries and bookshelves.

Michael Booker
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