British European Airways

British European Airways

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British European Airways (BEA) or British European Airways Corporation was a British airline
Airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

 which existed from 1946 until 1974. The airline operated European and North African routes from airports around the United Kingdom. BEA was the largest domestic airline within the United Kingdom, operating flights to major British cities, including London, Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

, Edinburgh
Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Belfast
Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 and Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

. BEA ceased operations in 1974 when it was merged with the British Overseas Airways Corporation
British Overseas Airways Corporation
The British Overseas Airways Corporation was the British state airline from 1939 until 1946 and the long-haul British state airline from 1946 to 1974. The company started life with a merger between Imperial Airways Ltd. and British Airways Ltd...

 to form British Airways
British Airways
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. British Airways is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations...

. BEA was headquartered in the BEAline House in Ruislip
Ruislip
Ruislip is a suburban area, centred on an old village in Greater London, and is part of the London Borough of Hillingdon.It was formerly also a parish covering the neighbouring areas of Eastcote, Northwood, Ruislip Manor and South Ruislip in the area. The parish appears in the Domesday Book, and...

, London Borough of Hillingdon
London Borough of Hillingdon
The London Borough of Hillingdon is the westernmost borough in Greater London, England. The borough's population was recorded as 243,006 in the 2001 Census. The borough incorporates the former districts of Ruislip-Northwood, Uxbridge, Hayes and Harlington and Yiewsley and West Drayton in the...

.

History




On 1 January 1946 the British European Airways division of the British Overseas Airways Corporation
British Overseas Airways Corporation
The British Overseas Airways Corporation was the British state airline from 1939 until 1946 and the long-haul British state airline from 1946 to 1974. The company started life with a merger between Imperial Airways Ltd. and British Airways Ltd...

 was formed to take over the services from the United Kingdom to continental Europe that had been operated by the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

. On 1 August 1946, the Civil Aviation Act 1946 was given royal assent and the independent British scheduled airlines were nationalised
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 and BEA became the British European Airways Corporation to operate all Domestic and European flights.

On 1 February 1947 a number of former independents were merged into BEA; Railway Air Services
Railway Air Services
Railway Air Services was a British airline formed in March 1934 by four railway companies and Imperial Airways. The airline was a domestic airline operating routes within the United Kingdom linking up with Imperial's services....

 which had been an independent airline since 1937, Isle of Man Air Services
Isle of Man Air Services
Isle of Man Air Services Ltd was a small airline, based at Ronaldsway Airport Isle of Man, which operated scheduled flights to the English mainland between September 1937 and January 1947.-Formation:...

 that had been formed in 1937, Scottish Airways had been formed in 1937 from the merger of Northern and Scottish Airways and Highland Airways.

On 24 September 1947 in cooperation with Government of Cyprus and private interests it created Cyprus Airways
Cyprus Airways
Cyprus Airways is the national airline of Cyprus, a public limited company with its head offices located in the capital of the island, Nicosia. It operates scheduled services to 41 destinations in Europe, the Middle East and the Gulf. It flies from both airports of the island, Larnaca and Paphos,...

 in the island of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

.

BEA was the first customer for British-built short- and medium-haul airliners of the 1950s and 1960s, including the Vickers Viking
Vickers VC.1 Viking
The Vickers VC.1 Viking was a British twin-engine short-range airliner derived from the Vickers Wellington bomber and built by Vickers Armstrongs Limited at Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Viking was an important airliner with British airlines...

, Vickers Viscount
Vickers Viscount
The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

, Vickers Vanguard
Vickers Vanguard
The Vickers Type 950 Vanguard was a British short/medium-range turboprop airliner introduced in 1959 by Vickers-Armstrongs, a development of their successful Viscount design with considerably more internal room. The Vanguard was introduced just before the first of the large jet-powered airliners,...

, BAC One-Eleven 500 and Hawker Siddeley Trident
Hawker Siddeley Trident
The Hawker Siddeley HS 121 Trident was a British short/medium-range three-engined jet airliner designed by de Havilland and built by Hawker Siddeley in the 1960s and 1970s...

.

The airline carried out trials with a Helicopter Experiment Unit, operating mail services in East Anglia during 1948 and a passenger service from Cardiff via Wrexham to Liverpool (Speke) Airport in 1950. Subsequently the airline formed a separate helicopter airline, BEA Helicopters, to operate services between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.

In 1969 BEA formed a charter subsidiary BEA Airtours
British Airtours
British Airtours was a UK charter airline with flight operations out of London Gatwick and Manchester Airport.Originally established as BEA Airtours in 1969, it became a wholly owned subsidiary of then state-owned British Airways following the British European Airways — British Overseas Airways...

 to provide inclusive tour holiday charters. BEA ceased operations in 1974 when it was merged with the British Overseas Airways Corporation
British Overseas Airways Corporation
The British Overseas Airways Corporation was the British state airline from 1939 until 1946 and the long-haul British state airline from 1946 to 1974. The company started life with a merger between Imperial Airways Ltd. and British Airways Ltd...

 to form British Airways
British Airways
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. British Airways is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations...

. The airline IATA code was BE with the callsign Bealine.

Aircraft operated






  • Airspeed Ambassador
    Airspeed Ambassador
    The Airspeed AS.57 Ambassador was a British twin piston engined airliner that first flew on 10 July 1947 and served in small numbers through the 1950s and 1960s.-Design and development:...

  • BAC One-Eleven
    BAC One-Eleven
    The British Aircraft Corporation One-Eleven, also known as the BAC-111, BAC-1-11 or BAC 1-11, was a British short-range jet airliner of the 1960s and 1970s...

  • Bell 47J Ranger
    Bell 47
    The Bell 47 is a two-bladed, single engine, light helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. Based on the third Model 30 prototype, Bell's first helicopter designed by Arthur M. Young, the Bell 47 became the first helicopter certified for civilian use on 8 March 1946...

     (BEA Helicopters)
  • Bell 206 JetRanger (BEA Helicopters)
  • Boeing 707
    Boeing 707
    The Boeing 707 is a four-engine narrow-body commercial passenger jet airliner developed by Boeing in the early 1950s. Its name is most commonly pronounced as "Seven Oh Seven". The first airline to operate the 707 was Pan American World Airways, inaugurating the type's first commercial flight on...

     (BEA Airtours)
  • Bristol 171 Sycamore helicopter
    Bristol Sycamore
    -See also:-External links:* on the Bristol Sycamore* on the Bristol Sycamore*...

  • de Havilland Comet
    De Havilland Comet
    The de Havilland DH 106 Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner to reach production. Developed and manufactured by de Havilland at the Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom headquarters, it first flew in 1949 and was a landmark in aeronautical design...

  • de Havilland Heron
    De Havilland Heron
    The de Havilland DH.114 Heron was a small, propeller-driven British airliner that first flew on 10 May 1950. It was a development of the twin-engine de Havilland Dove, with a stretched fuselage and two more engines. It was designed as a rugged, conventional low-wing monoplane with tricycle...

  • de Havilland DH.89A Dragon Rapide
    De Havilland Dragon Rapide
    The de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide was a British short-haul passenger airliner of the 1930s.-Design and development:Designed by the de Havilland company in late 1933 as a faster and more comfortable successor to the DH.84 Dragon, it was in effect a twin-engined, scaled-down version of the...

  • Douglas DC-3
    Douglas DC-3
    The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

  • Hawker Siddeley Argosy - Series 100 and Series 220 for freight
  • Handley-Page HPR.7 Herald 100
    Handley Page Dart Herald
    The Handley Page Dart Herald was a 1950s British turboprop passenger aircraft.-Design and development:In the mid 1950s the Handley Page Aircraft Company developed a new fast short-range regional airliner, intended to replace the venerable Douglas DC-3, particularly in third-world countries...

  • Hawker Siddeley Trident 1C/1E
    Hawker Siddeley Trident
    The Hawker Siddeley HS 121 Trident was a British short/medium-range three-engined jet airliner designed by de Havilland and built by Hawker Siddeley in the 1960s and 1970s...

  • Hawker Siddeley Trident 2E
    Hawker Siddeley Trident
    The Hawker Siddeley HS 121 Trident was a British short/medium-range three-engined jet airliner designed by de Havilland and built by Hawker Siddeley in the 1960s and 1970s...

  • Hawker Siddeley Trident 3B
    Hawker Siddeley Trident
    The Hawker Siddeley HS 121 Trident was a British short/medium-range three-engined jet airliner designed by de Havilland and built by Hawker Siddeley in the 1960s and 1970s...

  • Junkers Ju-52/3m
    Junkers Ju 52
    The Junkers Ju 52 was a German transport aircraft manufactured from 1932 to 1945. It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s. In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as an airliner and freight hauler...

  • Short Skyliner
    Short SC.7 Skyvan
    -See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Jackson, A.J. British Civil Aircraft since 1919 . London: Putnam, 1974. ISBN 0-370-10014-X.-External links:****...

  • Sikorsky S-51
  • Sikorsky S-61N
    Sikorsky S-61
    The Sikorsky S-61L and S-61N are civil variants of the successful SH-3 Sea King helicopter. They are two of the most widely used airliner and oil rig support helicopters built.-Design and development:...

     (BEA Helicopters)
  • Vickers Merchantman
    Vickers Vanguard
    The Vickers Type 950 Vanguard was a British short/medium-range turboprop airliner introduced in 1959 by Vickers-Armstrongs, a development of their successful Viscount design with considerably more internal room. The Vanguard was introduced just before the first of the large jet-powered airliners,...

  • Vickers Vanguard
    Vickers Vanguard
    The Vickers Type 950 Vanguard was a British short/medium-range turboprop airliner introduced in 1959 by Vickers-Armstrongs, a development of their successful Viscount design with considerably more internal room. The Vanguard was introduced just before the first of the large jet-powered airliners,...

  • Vickers Viking
    Vickers VC.1 Viking
    The Vickers VC.1 Viking was a British twin-engine short-range airliner derived from the Vickers Wellington bomber and built by Vickers Armstrongs Limited at Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Viking was an important airliner with British airlines...

  • Vickers Viscount
    Vickers Viscount
    The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

  • Westland Whirlwind (BEA Helicopters)

Incidents and accidents


  • On 15 April 1947 de Havilland Dragon Rapide
    De Havilland Dragon Rapide
    The de Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide was a British short-haul passenger airliner of the 1930s.-Design and development:Designed by the de Havilland company in late 1933 as a faster and more comfortable successor to the DH.84 Dragon, it was in effect a twin-engined, scaled-down version of the...

     G-AHKR crashed into Slieu Ruy whilst operated a scheduled passenger flight from Speke Airport, Liverpool
    Liverpool
    Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

    , Lancashire
    Lancashire
    Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

     to Ronaldsway Airport, Isle of Man
    Isle of Man
    The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...

    . There were only minor injuries amongst the six people on board.
  • On 6 January 1948, Vickers Viking
    Vickers VC.1 Viking
    The Vickers VC.1 Viking was a British twin-engine short-range airliner derived from the Vickers Wellington bomber and built by Vickers Armstrongs Limited at Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Viking was an important airliner with British airlines...

     G-AHPK crashed at Ruislip
    Ruislip
    Ruislip is a suburban area, centred on an old village in Greater London, and is part of the London Borough of Hillingdon.It was formerly also a parish covering the neighbouring areas of Eastcote, Northwood, Ruislip Manor and South Ruislip in the area. The parish appears in the Domesday Book, and...

     on approach to RAF Northolt
    RAF Northolt
    RAF Northolt is a Royal Air Force station situated in South Ruislip, east by northeast of Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon, West London. Approximately north of London Heathrow Airport, the station also handles a large number of private civil flights...

     killing one crew and injured 17 more passengers and crew.
  • On 21 April 1948, British European Airways Flight S200P
    British European Airways Flight S200P
    On 21 April 1948, while on approach to Glasgow-Renfrew Airport, Vickers VC.1 Viking, registration G-AIVE, flying British European Airways Flight S200P crashed into Irish Law Mountain in North Ayrshire, Scotland...

     crashed into the Irish Law Mountain on approach to Renfrew Airport
    Renfrew Airport
    Renfrew Airport was the former domestic airport serving the city of Glasgow until it was decommissioned in 1966.It was located in the Newmains area of Renfrew, approximately 2 kilometres east of Abbotsinch Airfield which would eventually replace it...

    . None of the 20 passengers and crew were killed but 14 were injured in the accident.
  • On 5 April 1948, a BEA Vickers 610 Viking 1B (registration: G-AIVP)
    1948 Gatow air disaster
    The 1948 Gatow air disaster occurred on Monday 5 April 1948 when a British European Airways Vickers VC.1B Viking airliner crashed near RAF Gatow, Berlin, Germany after a mid-air collision with a Soviet Air Force Yakovlev Yak-3 fighter. All ten passengers and four crew on board the Viking were...

     operating that day's scheduled flight from RAF Northolt
    RAF Northolt
    RAF Northolt is a Royal Air Force station situated in South Ruislip, east by northeast of Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon, West London. Approximately north of London Heathrow Airport, the station also handles a large number of private civil flights...

     via Hamburg to Berlin
    RAF Gatow
    Known for most of its operational life as Royal Air Force Station Gatow, or more commonly RAF Gatow, this former British Royal Air Force military airbase is in the district of Gatow in south-western Berlin, west of the Havel river, in the borough of Spandau...

     collided during its approach to RAF Gatow head-on with a Soviet Air Force
    Soviet Air Force
    The Soviet Air Force, officially known in Russian as Военно-воздушные силы or Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily and often abbreviated VVS was the official designation of one of the air forces of the Soviet Union. The other was the Soviet Air Defence Forces...

     Yakovlev 3 fighter
    Fighter aircraft
    A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

    , which was performing aerobatics
    Aerobatics
    Aerobatics is the practice of flying maneuvers involving aircraft attitudes that are not used in normal flight. Aerobatics are performed in airplanes and gliders for training, recreation, entertainment and sport...

     in the area at that time. As a result of the collision, the Viking spiralled out of control and crashed 1.9 mile
    Mile
    A mile is a unit of length, most commonly 5,280 feet . The mile of 5,280 feet is sometimes called the statute mile or land mile to distinguish it from the nautical mile...

    s from the airport on East German territory with the loss of all 14 lives (four crew, ten passengers) on board the aircraft. The Soviet fighter pilot
    Aviator
    An aviator is a person who flies an aircraft. The first recorded use of the term was in 1887, as a variation of 'aviation', from the Latin avis , coined in 1863 by G. de la Landelle in Aviation Ou Navigation Aérienne...

     was killed in the accident as well. The subsequent investigation established the Soviet fighter pilot's action, which contravened all accepted rules of flying and the quadripartite flying rules to which Soviet authorities were parties, as the cause of the accident.
  • On 19 February 1949, Douglas DC-3 G-AHCW collided with a Royal Air Force
    Royal Air Force
    The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

     Avro Anson
    Avro Anson
    The Avro Anson is a British twin-engine, multi-role aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm and numerous other air forces prior to, during, and after the Second World War. Named for British Admiral George Anson, it was originally designed for maritime reconnaissance, but was...

     VV243 near Exhall
    Exhall
    Exhall is a suburban settlement in the Nuneaton and Bedworth district of Warwickshire, England.- Geography :Exhall is an area south of Bedworth located 4.3 miles north-north-east of Coventry and 3.8 miles south of Nuneaton...

     killing all 14 passengers and crew on both aircraft.
  • On 19 August 1949, Douglas DC-3
    Douglas DC-3
    The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

     G-AHCY crashed into a hill just 15 miles short of the flight's destination at Manchester Airport killing 24 out of 32 passengers and crew 1949 Manchester DC-3 accident
    1949 Manchester DC-3 accident
    The 1949 Manchester DC-3 accident occurred when a twin-engined British European Airways Douglas DC-3 crashed at Oldham, near Manchester after a flight from Belfast. The accident killed 24 of the passengers and crew on board....

    .
  • On 13 April 1950, Vickers Viking
    Vickers VC.1 Viking
    The Vickers VC.1 Viking was a British twin-engine short-range airliner derived from the Vickers Wellington bomber and built by Vickers Armstrongs Limited at Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Viking was an important airliner with British airlines...

     G-AIVL was on a flight from RAF Northolt to Paris over the English Channel
    English Channel
    The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

     near Hastings
    Hastings
    Hastings is a town and borough in the county of East Sussex on the south coast of England. The town is located east of the county town of Lewes and south east of London, and has an estimated population of 86,900....

     when a French passenger was suspected of making a suicide attempt after a bomb exploded in the rear toilet compartment making an 8-foot-high and 4-foot-wide hole in the fuselage. The flight landed safely back at Northolt. The passenger and a flight attendant were injured in the blast. The captain, Ian Harvey DFC
    Distinguished Flying Cross (United Kingdom)
    The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and other services, and formerly to officers of other Commonwealth countries, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against...

    , a former RAF Bomber Command
    RAF Bomber Command
    RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

     pilot, was awarded the George Medal
    George Medal
    The George Medal is the second level civil decoration of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.The GM was instituted on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. At this time, during the height of The Blitz, there was a strong desire to reward the many acts of civilian courage...

     for the “coolness” that had characterised his deportment, not only throughout the incident: "In the face of this very grave emergency the action of Captain Harvey is worthy of the highest praise. The complete loss of the aircraft and all its company was avoided only as a result of his courage, high skill and presence of mind." The Flight Safety Foundation of America also honoured Harvey and his crew with an award. An official inquiry confirmed that a bomb had been detonated in the Viking’s lavatory, but there was no evidence of how it had been done. The investigation revealed no motive for the attack. Material relating to it in the Public Record Office has been released and available from the National Archive.
  • On 17 October 1950, Douglas DC-3
    Douglas DC-3
    The Douglas DC-3 is an American fixed-wing propeller-driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. Its lasting impact on the airline industry and World War II makes it one of the most significant transport aircraft ever made...

     G-AGIW crashed in Mill Hill
    Mill Hill
    Mill Hill is a place in the London Borough of Barnet. It is a suburb situated 9 miles north west of Charing Cross. Mill Hill was in the historic county of Middlesex until it was absorbed by London...

     shortly after takeoff on a flight from RAF Northolt
    RAF Northolt
    RAF Northolt is a Royal Air Force station situated in South Ruislip, east by northeast of Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon, West London. Approximately north of London Heathrow Airport, the station also handles a large number of private civil flights...

     to Renfrew Airport
    Renfrew Airport
    Renfrew Airport was the former domestic airport serving the city of Glasgow until it was decommissioned in 1966.It was located in the Newmains area of Renfrew, approximately 2 kilometres east of Abbotsinch Airfield which would eventually replace it...

    . The accident killed 28 passengers and crew, leaving only 1 survivor. The crew had shut down the No.2 engine after it developed problems and were left without sufficient power to clear high ground.
  • On 31 October 1950, Vickers Viking
    Vickers VC.1 Viking
    The Vickers VC.1 Viking was a British twin-engine short-range airliner derived from the Vickers Wellington bomber and built by Vickers Armstrongs Limited at Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Viking was an important airliner with British airlines...

     G-AHPN crashed in bad weather at RAF Northolt
    RAF Northolt
    RAF Northolt is a Royal Air Force station situated in South Ruislip, east by northeast of Uxbridge in the London Borough of Hillingdon, West London. Approximately north of London Heathrow Airport, the station also handles a large number of private civil flights...

     after the aircraft struck the runway and went off the end of the runway and caught fire killing 28 out of 30 passengers and crew
  • On 5 January 1953, Vickers Viking
    Vickers VC.1 Viking
    The Vickers VC.1 Viking was a British twin-engine short-range airliner derived from the Vickers Wellington bomber and built by Vickers Armstrongs Limited at Brooklands near Weybridge in Surrey. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Viking was an important airliner with British airlines...

     G-AJDL
    Aircraft registration
    An aircraft registration is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies a civil aircraft, in similar fashion to a licence plate on an automobile...

     crashed on approach to Belfast-Nutts Corner Airport
    RAF Nutts Corner
    RAF Nutts Corner was a Royal Air Force station in County Antrim near Belfast. It was originally a civil airfield, then it became a military airfield and subsequently Northern Ireland's main civil airport until the 1960s.-Civil operations:...

     due to an error of judgement by the pilot. 27 out of the 35 people on board died.
  • On 20 January 1956, Vickers Viscount
    Vickers Viscount
    The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

     G-AMOM crashed on take-off from Blackbushe Airport
    Blackbushe Airport
    Blackbushe Airport , in the civil parish of Yateley in the north-east corner of the English county of Hampshire, comprises an airfield, much reduced in size since its heyday, a British Car Auctions site, a kart track owned by Camberley Kart Club, and a small business park...

     on a training flight.
  • On 14 March 1957, British European Airways Flight 411
    British European Airways Flight 411
    British European Airways Flight 411 crashed on approach to Manchester Airport after a flight from Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport on the 14 March 1957 and hit a house in Wythenshawe. All onboard, 20 passengers and crew, died in the crash as did two people in the house. The aircraft...

     "Bealine 411" operated by Vickers Viscount
    Vickers Viscount
    The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

     G-ALWE crashed on approach to Manchester Airport due to a flap failure caused by metal fatigue. All 20 occupants on board died, and two on the ground.
  • On 28 September 1957, de Havilland Heron
    De Havilland Heron
    The de Havilland DH.114 Heron was a small, propeller-driven British airliner that first flew on 10 May 1950. It was a development of the twin-engine de Havilland Dove, with a stretched fuselage and two more engines. It was designed as a rugged, conventional low-wing monoplane with tricycle...

     G-AOFY, while operating a flight for the Scottish Air Ambulance Service, crashed on approach to Glenegedale Airport
    Islay Airport
    Islay Airport is located north northwest of Port Ellen on the island of Islay in Argyll and Bute, off the west coast of Scotland. It is a small rural airport owned and maintained by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited.-History:The first airports appeared in Islay in the 1930s. However, these...

    , Islay, in bad weather. The three occupants, two crew and one nurse, were killed. They were Capt. Paddy Calderwood, R/O Hugh McGinlay and nursing sister Jean Kennedy. Come the next repaint, the remaining two Herons (GANXA and GANXB) were named "Sister Jean Kennedy" and "James Young Simpson" a Scottish pioneer in anaesthetics. The nursing sisters for these Air Ambulance flights were supplied by volunteer staff from Glasgow's nearby Southern General Hospital.
  • On 23 October 1957, Vickers Viscount
    Vickers Viscount
    The Vickers Viscount was a British medium-range turboprop airliner first flown in 1948 by Vickers-Armstrongs, making it the first such aircraft to enter service in the world...

     G-AOJA from London Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

     crashed after overshooting on approach to Belfast-Nutts Corner Airport. The cause was not determined. All seven occupants died.
  • On 19 November 1957, Vickers Viscount G-AOHP crashed at Ballerup after the failure of three engines on approach to Copenhagen Airport
    Copenhagen Airport
    Copenhagen Airport is the main international airport serving Copenhagen, Denmark and the Oresund Region. It is located on the island of Amager, south of Copenhagen city centre, and west of Malmö city centre on the other side of the Oresund Bridge. The airport lies mainly in the municipality...

    . The cause was a malfunction of the anti-icing system on the aircraft.
  • Munich air disaster
    Munich air disaster
    The Munich air disaster occurred on 6 February 1958, when British European Airways Flight 609 crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany. On board the plane was the Manchester United football team, nicknamed the "Busby Babes",...

     – on 6 February 1958, British European Airways Flight "Bealine 609" crashed in a blizzard on its third attempt to take off from an icy runway at the Munich-Riem airport
    Munich-Riem Airport
    Munich-Riem Airport was the main, international airport of Munich until it was closed down on 16 May 1992, the day before the new airport near Freising commenced operation. It was located near the old village of Riem in the Munich borough of Trudering-Riem.-History:Construction on the airport...

     in Germany. On board the plane was the Manchester United football team, along with supporters and journalists. Twenty-three of the 43 passengers on board the aircraft died. The charter flight was operated by British European Airways with an Airspeed Ambassador
    Airspeed Ambassador
    The Airspeed AS.57 Ambassador was a British twin piston engined airliner that first flew on 10 July 1947 and served in small numbers through the 1950s and 1960s.-Design and development:...

     G-ALZU 'Lord Burghley'.
  • On 28 April 1958, Vickers Viscount G-AORC crashed at Craigie, Ayrshire on approach to Glasgow Prestwick Airport when the pilot misread the altimeter by 10,000 feet.
  • On 22 October 1958, Flight "Bealine 142" operated by Vickers Viscount G-ANHC was hit by an Italian Air Force
    Italian Air Force
    The Italian Air Force has gone under different names in different periods:*Regia Aeronautica , from 1923 to June 1946*Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, the air force of Italian Social Republic during World War II...

     F-86 Sabre
    F-86 Sabre
    The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War...

     and crashed with the loss of all 31 on board.
  • On 5 January 1960, Vickers Viscount G-AMNY was damaged beyond economic repair at Luqa Airport
    Malta International Airport
    Malta International Airport is the only airport in Malta and it serves the whole Maltese Archipelago. It is located between Luqa and Gudja. It occupies the location of the former RAF Luqa and was completely re-furbished, becoming fully operational on 25 March 1992...

     when it departed the runway after landing following a loss of hydraulic pressure.
  • On 7 January 1960, Vickers Viscount G-AOHU was damaged beyond economic repair when the nose wheel collapsed on landing at Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

    . A fire then developed and burnt out the fuselage. There were no casualties among the 59 people on board.
  • On 21 December 1961, De Havilland Comet 4B
    De Havilland Comet
    The de Havilland DH 106 Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner to reach production. Developed and manufactured by de Havilland at the Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom headquarters, it first flew in 1949 and was a landmark in aeronautical design...

     G-ARJM stalled on take-off from Esenboga Airport
    Esenboga International Airport
    Esenboğa International Airport , is an airport located northeast of Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. It has been operating since 1955. The name of the airport comes from the village of Esenboğa , which literally means "flying bull"....

    , Ankara
    Ankara
    Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city after Istanbul. The city has a mean elevation of , and as of 2010 the metropolitan area in the entire Ankara Province had a population of 4.4 million....

    , Turkey. The aircraft was being operated for Cyprus Airways
    Cyprus Airways
    Cyprus Airways is the national airline of Cyprus, a public limited company with its head offices located in the capital of the island, Nicosia. It operates scheduled services to 41 destinations in Europe, the Middle East and the Gulf. It flies from both airports of the island, Larnaca and Paphos,...

    . The aircraft was destroyed, with the loss of six crew and 20 passengers.
  • On 27 October 1965, Vickers Vanguard
    Vickers Vanguard
    The Vickers Type 950 Vanguard was a British short/medium-range turboprop airliner introduced in 1959 by Vickers-Armstrongs, a development of their successful Viscount design with considerably more internal room. The Vanguard was introduced just before the first of the large jet-powered airliners,...

     G-APEE on a flight from Edinburgh crashed on to the runway during an approach in bad weather at London Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

    . All 36 on board died.
  • On 12 October 1967, Flight "Bealine 284" operated by De Havilland Comet 4
    De Havilland Comet
    The de Havilland DH 106 Comet was the world's first commercial jet airliner to reach production. Developed and manufactured by de Havilland at the Hatfield, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom headquarters, it first flew in 1949 and was a landmark in aeronautical design...

     G-ARCO on behalf of Cyprus Airways exploded in mid-air over the Mediterranean and crashed into the sea with the loss of all 66 on board. The explosion was caused by a device under a passenger seat.


  • On 2 October 1971, British European Airways Flight "Bealine 706", operated by Vickers Vanguard G-APEC, crashed near Aarsele
    Aarsele
    Aarsele is a village in the Belgium Belgian province of West Flanders and a subdivision of the city of Tielt.-History:The earliest written reference to Aarsele dates from 1038 when it appears as Arcela, a Germanic word joining arda and sali .In earlier times Aarsele was under the rule of the...

    , Belgium following a mid-air rupture of the rear pressure bulkhead due to severe undetected corrosion. All 63 on board died.
  • On 18 June 1972, British European Airways Flight "Bealine 548"
    British European Airways Flight 548
    British European Airways Flight 548 was a Hawker Siddeley Trident 1C airliner, registration G-ARPI, operating as a British European Airways scheduled commercial passenger flight from London Heathrow Airport to Brussels, Belgium...

    , operated by a British European Airways (BEA) Hawker Siddeley Trident 1C G-ARPI, crashed two minutes after takeoff from Heathrow Airport, killing all 118 passengers and crew. The crash occurred close to the town of Staines
    Staines
    Staines is a Thames-side town in the Spelthorne borough of Surrey and Greater London Urban Area, as well as the London Commuter Belt of South East England. It is a suburban development within the western bounds of the M25 motorway and located 17 miles west south-west of Charing Cross in...

    , Middlesex.
  • On 19 January 1973, Vickers Viscount G-AOHI crashed into Ben More
    Ben More (Crianlarich)
    Ben More is a mountain in the southern Highlands of Scotland, near Crianlarich. It is the highest of the so-called Crianlarich Hills to the south-east of the village, and there is no higher land in the British Isles south of Ben More...

     while on a test flight. All four people on board were killed. See also very full account in Vickers Viscount Network

Other facts of interest

  • On 10 June 1965 a BEA Trident 1 (G-ARPR) operating Flight "Bealine 343" from Paris to London Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport
    London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

    , made the world's first fully automatic landing of a commercial airliner with fare-paying passengers.

  • BEA employed the archetypal London red Routemaster
    Routemaster
    The AEC Routemaster is a model of double-decker bus that was built by Associated Equipment Company in 1954 and produced until 1968. Primarily front-engined, rear open-platform buses, a small number of variants were produced with doors and/or front entrances...

     buses in a blue and white livery with luggage trailers as airport bus
    Airport bus
    An airport bus, or airport shuttle bus or airport shuttle is a bus or coach used to transport people to/from, or within airports. These vehicles will usually be equipped with larger luggage space, and incorporate special branding....

    es on services to Heathrow Airport

In popular culture

  • The Beatles
    The Beatles
    The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

     occasionally flew BEA. On one flight, Ringo Starr
    Ringo Starr
    Richard Starkey, MBE better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician and actor who gained worldwide fame as the drummer for The Beatles. When the band formed in 1960, Starr was a member of another Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. He became The Beatles' drummer in...

     held a “TLES” sign next to the BEA logo on the airplane door, spelling out BEATLES. A similar change to the logo was made at the end of A Hard Day's Night
    A Hard Day's Night (film)
    A Hard Day's Night is a 1964 British black-and-white comedy film directed by Richard Lester and starring The Beatles—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr—during the height of Beatlemania. It was written by Alun Owen and originally released by United Artists...

    .
  • The BEA is mentioned in Bill Wyman
    Bill Wyman
    Bill Wyman is an English musician best known as the bass guitarist for the English rock and roll band the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1992. Since 1997, he has recorded and toured with his own band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings...

    's 1981 song 'Je suis un rock star'.
  • Tintin
    Tintin (character)
    Tintin is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé. Tintin is the protagonist of the series, a reporter and adventurer who travels around the world with his dog Snowy....

     and Snowy
    Snowy (character)
    Snowy is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé. He is a white Wire Fox Terrier and Tintin's four-legged companion who travels everywhere with him...

     leave Britain in a BEA plane at the conclusion of the 1966 edition of The Black Island
    The Black Island
    The Black Island is the seventh of The Adventures of Tintin, a series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and illustrator Hergé, featuring young reporter Tintin as the hero. It was first published in the newspaper supplement Le Petit Vingtième in the late 1930s...

    .
  • Ben and Jo McKenna (James Stewart
    James Stewart (actor)
    James Maitland Stewart was an American film and stage actor, known for his distinctive voice and his everyman persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition and receiving one Lifetime...

     and Doris Day
    Doris Day
    Doris Day is an American actress, singer and, since her retirement from show business, an animal rights activist. With an entertainment career that spanned through almost 50 years, Day started her career as a big band singer in 1939, but only began to be noticed after her first hit recording,...

    ) arrive in London on a BEA plane in the 1956 film The Man Who Knew Too Much
    The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 film)
    The Man Who Knew Too Much is a suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Doris Day. The film is a remake in widescreen VistaVision and Technicolor of Hitchcock's 1934 film of the same name....


External links