British Airways (BA) was born in 1972, when the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and British European Airways Corporation (BEA) managements were combined under the newly formed British Airways Board. It inherited a fleet of mainly UK-built aircraft, with the exception of the Boeing 707 and Boeing 747 from BOAC.
British Airways inaugurated the world's first supersonic passenger service in January, 1976, being one of the only two airlines to operate the Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde, the other being Air France.
In 1981, Sir John King was appointed Chairman to prepare the airline for privatization.
King managed to turn British Airways into one of the most profitable air carriers in the world by 1987, when the airline was privatised and floated on the London Stock Exchange.
In July, 1987, British Airways took over British Caledonian.
During the early 1990s, British Airways became world's most profitable airline, using "The World's Favourite Airline" slogan.
In 1993, British Airways formed British Asia Airways and acquired Brymon Airways to form BA Connect.
Robert Ayling became CEO in 1993, establishing Go in 1998 and recording cost savings of £750 million by 2000.
Unfortunately, British Airways' profits dropped by 84% in 1999, and Ayiling was removed in 2000.
On the 24th of October, 2003, British Airways operated the final commercial Concorde flight, from New York to London.
In the years to follow, British Airways started recovering, and in late July, 2008, announced a merger plan with Iberia Airlines that would lead to the two companies joining forces while retaining their separate brands, as it happened with the KLM – Air France merger.
In 2008, British Airways’ new home at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 is opened.
In 2009, Club World London City, an all business class service with only 32 seats, launches.
In 2010, a redesigned First class cabin is unveiled and a joint business with American Airlines and Iberia launches.
In 2011, British Airways merger with Iberia is completed to form the parent company IAG, the world's third-largest airline in terms of annual revenue and the second largest airline group in Europe
In 2013, British Airways has taken delivery of its first of 42 Boeing 787s, with the first of its 12 Airbus A380s due to touch down in the UK July 4. British Airways will operate the 787 on its Heathrow-Toronto service from September 1 and Heathrow-Newark service from October 1. Seats on the A380 are on sale for travel from October 15 to Los Angeles and from November 15 to Hong Kong.
British Airways is the largest Boeing 747-400 operator in the world.
British Airways is one of the only seven airlines that fly to all six inhabited continents.
The first fatal incident involving British Airways happened in November, 1974, when British Airways Flight 870 from Dubai to Heathrow was hijacked, one hostage being killed before the hijackers surrendered.
The second occurred two years later, when due to an air traffic control error, a British Airways Trident 3B collided with a Inex Adria DC9-32, all passengers and crew members onboard the two planes being killed (113 on the DC9 and 63 on the Trident).
The last fatal accident involving a British Airways plane took place on the 22nd of August, 1985, when a British Airtours 737-200 aircraft failed to take off due to engine failure, leading to a punctured fuel tank and a fire that caused 53 passenger deaths and killed 2 of the crew out of 131 passengers and six crew members.