Explore our past: 1970 - 1979

British Airways Lockheed Tristar.


1970

January: BOAC flew its inaugural non-stop London to Miami service.

March: The first BOAC Boeing 747 hangar was completed at Heathrow.

6 March: The first commercial flight of BEA Airtours Limited Gatwick to Palma took place.

April: The first BEA direct scheduled services between London and Inverness and London and Bucharest took place.

1 May: BEA commenced the London to Pisa service.

1 June: The inaugural flight of BEA London to Belgrade and Sofia service by Trident Two aircraft took place.

24 September: HRH Princess Alexandra opened BOAC’s new passenger terminal at John F Kennedy International Airport, New York.

7 November: BEA commenced services between London and Marrakech, routing via Gibraltar.

December: British Overseas Air Charter Limited was formed.

1971

1 January: Mr Henry Marking became chairman of BEA and a member of the board of BOAC following the retirement of Sir Anthony Milward on 31 December.
Mr Keith Granville became chairman of BOAC and a member of the Board of BEA, succeeding Sir Charles Hardie.
Mr J Ross Stainton was appointed BOAC Managing Director.

February: The first of 26 Trident Three aircraft was accepted by BEA.

March: BOAC’s West African routes and London to Tripoli route were transferred to British Caledonian Airways.

1 March: The first revenue earning flight of a BEA Trident Three aircraft (G-AWZB) from London to Paris Orly Airport took place.

14 April: BOAC operated its first commercial Boeing 747 flight, flying from London to New York (JFK) on G-AWNF.

April: A major reorganisation of the BEA Group structure became effective. The group was split into ten separate operating units.

2 April: BEA commenced services from London to a variety of destinations; Zagreb, Reykjavik and Heraklion (Crete) .

2 May: BEA commenced services from London to Leningrad.

July: BEA’s new £1.3 million Engineering Training and Computer Centre building was completed.

September: The new BEA £2.6m large hangar for future wide-bodied aircraft was handed over to the airline.

7 October: Mr David Nicholson was named as the first chairman of the British Airways Board.

31 October: After more than 25 years, BEA ceased operations into Paris Le Bourget Airport.

1 November: A new Birmingham to Malta Trident Three service was introduced. New BEA services commenced from London to Rhodes, and also commence non-stop flights from London to Istanbul

1972

27 January: FICO (Flight Information and Control of Operations), the real-time computer control of day-to-day flight operations, was launched.

1 April: The Queen’s Award for Industry was conferred upon the Management Services Department of BOAC for technological innovation in respect of the BOADICEA real-time computer system.
New BEA services commenced from London to both Tangier (via Malta) and Marseille, and also from Manchester to both Geneva and Munich.

May: New BEA services from London to Cagliari (Sardinia), and from Jersey to Amsterdam commenced.
Following the recommendation of The Edwards Committee, the government announced its intention to merge BEA and BOAC to form British Airways.

1 September: The British Airways Group was established, which would eventually result in BOAC and BEA being dissolved on 31 March 1974 upon the formation of British Airways.

1974

31 March: BOAC and BEA were dissolved following the formation of British Airways the previous year.
Two British Aerospace 748s were ordered shortly after the merger, with delivery scheduled for 1975 for use in Scotland, where they would begin to replace the ageing Viscount and also support North Sea exploration.
The Standard VC-10 fleet and three remaining Vanguards were retired due to over capacity.

October: The first Lockheed Tristar arrived in October, but did not enter service until January 1975 because of industrial problems.

1975

January: British Airways introduced Lockheed Tristars on European routes, initially to Brussels, Madrid, Malaga, Palma and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

12 January: British Airways launched the British Airways Shuttle, Europe’s first walk on, no-reservation, guaranteed seat service from Heathrow to Glasgow.

May: An agreement with Air New Zealand (ANZ) enabled ANZ’s DC-10 aircraft to be flown by BA crew for use on the Heathrow to Los Angeles route, in place of BA's Boeing 707 aircraft.
13 Viscounts were withdrawn during 1975 to 1976 to reduce some of regional division’s losses.
The Rolls Royce-powered Boeing 747-200 aircraft was launched after British Airways placed an order for four aircraft.

1976

21 January: The world’s first passenger supersonic services were inaugurated simultaneously by British Airways to Bahrain (Concorde G-BOAA) and Air France to Rio de Janeiro via Dakar.

24 May: Concorde flights to Washington Dulles commenced, but problems with noise levels delayed operations to New York's JFK airport.

June: BA’s first two Boeing 747-236s were delivered.

1977

April: A major reorganisation saw the airline adopt a single functional-based operating structure with departments set up to oversee Flight operations, Engineering and Planning for the whole airline. Commercial operations were split into geographical route groups: UK& Ireland, North and East Europe, West and Southern Europe, and for the longhaul network: Eastern, Southern and Western routes.
The search for new shorthaul airliners to replace Tridents began.

2 November: HM The Queen flew from Barbados to Heathrow on Concorde G-BOAE at the end of her Caribbean tour.

22 November: Concorde services finally started to New York JFK and then on 9 December to Singapore. The Singapore operation was an extension of the Bahrain service and was operated in conjunction with Singapore Airlines. Concorde G-BOAD wore Singapore Airlines’ livery on its port side with the BA livery on the starboard side for use on that route.

1978

July: Orders for 19 Boeing 737-236 and three BAE 1-11 539 aircraft were placed.

1979

January: Two Lockheed Tristar – 200 aircraft were ordered, followed by six in September, which was BA’s final Tristar order. Deliveries took place between March 1980 and May 1981.
Concorde began operating between Washington and Dallas under a lease agreement with Braniff International in January. Three services per week operated until June 1980.

March: The new Boeing 757 aircraft was launched with orders for 19 from British Airways and 21 from Eastern (USA).

May: The first of six long-range Tristar – 500 aircraft entered service between London and Abu Dhabi.
A Conservative government was elected which declared that BA would no longer receive any state support or interference in its commercial decision making.

July: The government’s intention to go ahead with privatisation was announced but this was soon delayed by a forthcoming recession which plunged BA into massive losses.