British Airways Celebrates 90 Years in the Air

This week, British Airways is celebrating 90 years since Transport & Travel Ltd (a precursor to British Airways) launched the world’s first commercial flight, which departed from London to Paris on August 25, 1919.

Since then, the airline has carried more than 1.2 billion customers on its extensive route network. Paying tribute to the airline, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “British Airways has never lost the pioneering spirit and vision that saw it take to the skies with the world’s first daily international flight from London to Paris on this day in 1919.”

British Airways chairman Martin Broughton said: “Over the past nine decades, British Airways has played its part in many historic episodes. We provided the first air links to far-flung capitals in the days of empire, flew Winston Churchill across the Atlantic during wartime, brought Queen Elizabeth back to Britain after the passing of George VI… and have often proudly transported home our sports teams from success overseas.”

To honor the anniversary, Swarovski has loaned a giant bejeweled Union Flag to the airline. The stunning four-foot-by-two-foot artwork is embossed with more than 126,000 crystallized Swarovski Elements and will be in the British Airways arrivals lounge in Terminal 5 until September.

An internal exhibition will showcase memorabilia from nine decades of travel, while customers in Terminal 5 have been treated to members of the BA cabin crew, along with TV personality Kirsty Gallacher, modeling vintage uniforms in the terminal in the run up to its anniversary week.