British Airways has a long history as the flagship carrier of the United Kingdom. It has origins as one of the oldest airlines, and here’s what you need to know about how old British Airways is.

British Airways History

British Airways was first grounded as Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited on August 25, 1919, making it more than 100 years old. However, that looked much different, and in its current iteration, it was founded on March 31, 1979.

The British government had established the British Airways board to help manage the country’s various airlines. Four airlines – British Overseas Airways Corporation, British European Airways, Cambrian Airways, and Northeast Airlines – were merged to create British Airways. Over the years, British Airways has acquired additional airlines, including British Caledonian, Dan-Air, and British Midland International.

Today, British Airways plays a pivotal role in global air travel. It’s a founding member of the Oneworld alliance to help get passengers to their destinations with partner airlines, which is the third largest group of its kind.

British Airways was privatized in February 1987, moving away from its origin as a state-owned company. This move helped make it more profitable and transformed it into the successful carrier it is today.


British Airways measures its history by the oldest airline that it merged with, so it celebrates more than 100 years in operation. In its current form, British Airways is only 49 years. Either way, they have a long history of connecting passengers to destinations throughout the world.


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