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British Airways

British Airways or BA is the largest airline of the United Kingdom and one of the largest in the world. It was formed in 1974 from the merger of the state owned British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways[?] (BEA). During the fiscal year ending 2002, BA carried 40 million passengers on revenues exceeding GBP 8 billion. The flag carrier was privatised and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1987 by the Conservative government of Mrs. Thatcher.

British Airways Airbus A319 (G-EUPO)
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British Airways is based at the London Heathrow Airport. It also has a commanding presence at Gatwick but launched renewed efforts to concentrate all operations at Heathrow in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack. BA has succeeded in dominating Heathrow to the point that the airport is commonly referred to as Fortress Heathrow within both the airline and its competitors. As an incumbent airline, BA has grandfather rights to the bulk of peak-time takeoff and landing slots at Heathrow. Some competitors, such as Virgin Atlantic, bmi British Midland[?] and United Airlines assert that this stifles competition.

British Airways and Air France are the only operators of the famous Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde supersonic airliner. BA has a daily Concorde service between London and New York, and a weekend service to Barbados during the winter holiday season. However, both airlines announced (on April 10, 2003) that, as of October that year, they would cease services and retire Concorde, due to depressed passenger numbers.

British Airways aircraft use the Airline call sign "Speedbird" in ATC radio transmissions. The airline's IATA designator is BA. British Airways is a founding member of the oneworld[?] airline alliance.

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