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British Airways facts for kids

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British Airways aircraft at LHR T1 1980s Kennaugh
British Airways aircraft at London Heathrow Airport in the early 1980s.

British Airways (sometimes known as just "BA") is the United Kingdom's largest airline, and is the UK's flag carrier. It was formed in 1974 when the UK's two government owned airlines, the British Oversea Airways Corporation and British European Airways were joined together. It is now owned by a company called International Airlines Group, which also owns Iberia Airlines, and is one of the largest companies in the United Kingdom. It operates domestic flights within the UK as well as international flights to Europe and the rest of the world.

British Airways has a large fleet of aircraft, including planes built by Boeing, Airbus and Embraer. They are now operating the Airbus A380, the largest passenger plane ever built. For a while during the 1990s British Airways' planes had tails each painted in a design to symbolise a country of the world. This was called the World Tails scheme, and it wasn't very popular. However, they now have tails that are based on the Union Jack.

British Airways also flew the Concorde, one of only two aircraft types that could fly faster than the speed of sound. However, this plane was taken out of the fleet in 2003 after the crash of Air France flight 4590, after being used for 27 years.

Heathrow Airport

Terminal 5 in July 2006. Here, it is still being built; now it is open.

British Airways has its own terminal at Heathrow Airport in London called Terminal 5 or T5. It was opened on 14 March 2008 by the UK monarch Queen Elizabeth II, and cost £4.3 billion ($6.2 billion) to build. It is between Heathrow's two runways- 27L/09R and 27R/09L. The site is 260 hectares in size, and has its own train station. It also has over 100 shops and restaurants.

The only airlines to use terminal 5 are British Airways and Iberia Airlines. Not all of British Airways' flights go through T5. Some flights, such as those to Thailand, Singapore and Sydney in Australia depart from Terminal 3.

In 2011, 26.3 million passengers and 184,616 flights departed from Terminal 5.

Other Airports

British Airways also has many flights from Gatwick Airport, and London City Airport which are both in London. These two airports, along with Heathrow Airport, are British Airways' main airports.


Ba A319-131.g-eupo.750pix
British Airways Airbus A319-100 (G-EUPO)

British Airways has a fleet of 253 planes:

British Airways Fleet
Aircraft Number in fleet Number on order
Airbus A318-100 2
Airbus A319-100 44
Airbus A320-200 46 20
Airbus A321-200 17
Airbus A380-800 8 4
Boeing 737–400 19
Boeing 747-400 46 -
Boeing 767-300ER 21
Boeing 777-200 22 -
Boeing 777-300ER 6 6
Boeing 787–8 8 -
Boeing 787–9 22
Boeing 787-10 - 12
Total 253 42


BA CityFlier and OpenSkies

British Airways also owns two other smaller airlines called BA CityFlier and OpenSkies, which run different services than the large airline.

BA CityFlier runs flights from London City Airport to other major cities in the UK (such as Edinburgh and Glasgow) and the rest of Europe (such as Nice in France, Dublin in Ireland, Frankfurt in Germany, Madrid in Spain and Zurich in Switzerland). It began flying passengers in March 2007. It is also a much smaller airline than British Airways, and has 14 Embraer E-Jet family planes.

OpenSkies in an even smaller airline with only two aircraft- old Boeing 757s from that used to belong to British Airways. At the moment, the airline only flies to/from Paris in France and New York in the United States of America. The two Boeing 757s have enough room for 110 passengers, and have 20 Business class seats, 24 Premium Economy class seats and 66 Economy class seats.


British Airways 747-400 G-CIVI
British Airways aircraft in Oneworld livery.

British Airways is a member of Oneworld. Oneworld is a partnership between 11 airlines: American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia Airlines, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian Airlines, S7 Airlines and British Airways. Smaller airlines that are owned by these 12 member airlines are also part of Oneworld- for example BA CityFlier. There is one exception- OpenSkies however is not part of Oneworld.

Being part of Oneworld means that the airlines sell tickets for their own flights as well as for other members' flights (for example, British Airways sells tickets for American Airlines flights). This is good for the airlines because the customers can get their tickets in one place and it lets the airlines use flights that they wouldn't normally have. Also, Oneworld has a frequent flier program, where all the separate member airlines' airmiles can be used, so they can be used across all the member airlines. The three levels are Oneworld Ruby (lowest), Oneworld Sapphire (middle) and Oneworld Emerald (highest). It is up to the airlines to decide how many air miles a passenger needs to get rewards from their own scheme. A passenger is awarded one air mile for each mile that they fly with the airline for.

Other facts about British Airways

  • It was the first airline to introduce flat beds in Business Class, although many airlines now have this feature
  • It is shown in the James Bond movie series.
  • The airline was awarded 'Airline of the Year 2015'
  • It still operates more Boeing 747s than any other airline (however with the introduction of the B777 and the A380 that number is predicted to drop)

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