What is the airline of the year?
According to CAPA-Centre for Aviation, British Airways brand may only be 45 years old, but the airline has been built on a legacy that dates back 100 years to 1919 when forerunner company, Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited (AT&T), launched the world’s first daily international scheduled air service between London and Paris.
From Instone, Handley Page, Daimler Airways and British Air Marine Navigation Company Limited; via the likes of Imperial Airways Limited, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), British European Airways (BEA) and British Caledonian; to the current British Airways, the UK carrier has been an important part of the aviation scene not just in the United Kingdom, but across the globe.
It has been an innovator – not less than flying the supersonic Concorde jet – and has evolved into a new generation airline as it has refined its activity to better compete with the intense competition from Europe’s LCC powerhouses. It is now in the midst of a major fleet renewal which will see the arrival of new long haul aircraft, introducing new and redesigned lounges, new dining across all cabins, new bedding and amenity kits, enhanced onboard WiFi and power access at every aircraft seat.
CAPA Chairman Emeritus Peter Harbison said: “British Airways was famously the world’s favourite airline in the 1990s and it has taken some tough decisions to maintain its market position against increasing competition. Under the leadership of CEO Alex Cruz, BA has not been afraid to adopt new ticketing practices, service levels etc and is now among the frontrunners of distribution change and technology adoption – at the same time as achieving an industry leading ROIC. It is certainly “100 not out” for one of the world’s most famous airline brands.”
British Airways, Chairman and CEO Alex Cruz said: “On behalf of everyone at British Airways, we are truly honored to accept this award. In this, our centenary year, we have much to celebrate from our past and much to look forward to for the future. We pioneered the first commercial passenger flight as Air Transport and Travel Limited starting with just one route to Paris. Since then, we have lead from the front, introducing innovative products such as the first lie-flat Business Class seat, operating the first jet-engine aircraft across the Atlantic, and flying customers at twice the speed of sound on Concorde.
“We’re now transforming British Airways so we are fit for the future. We are investing £6.5 billion in new, more efficient aircraft, introducing new products, innovating with technology and we are committed to net zero emissions by 2050. British Airways has a proud history of taking Britain to the world and bringing the world to Britain, and that is set to continue for years to come.”