Previously owned by UK Government – eventually becoming one of the many things privatised by Margaret Thatcher while she was Prime Minister – British Airways remains the largest airline in the country based on almost every measurement in use (size of fleet, number of destinations, amount of flights), only being beaten into second place on the number of passengers it carries each year (with budget airline EasyJet currently holding that title).
As one of the most recognisable brands in the UK, British Airways (popularly known as BA) have a reputation for high-quality travel, with an unrivalled range of options for both First Class and Business Class customers.
While much of the flight industry is now engaged in a price war due to the rise of budget operators such as Ryanair and EasyJet, British Airways appears committed to crafting a premium service for its customers.
The company currently serves around 170 destinations with a fleet of aircraft currently numbering 276, all helping the company an estimated annual income of £10 billion. British Airways are part of the Oneworld airline alliance along with Qantas, Iberia and American Airlines – though this coalition has been created largely to offer value for customers across multiple brands, rather than as a sign of any future merger.
Currently marketed with the tagline ‘To Fly. To Serve’, the company also runs various other enterprises such as BA CityFlyer (largely domestic and short-haul European flights), OpenSkies (their transatlantic flight brand) and British Airways World Cargo (a dedicated freight service, mainly for commercial customers).
Some would argue that the company should look at providing budget flights in line with their competitors – however, British Airways argue that this would do irrevocable long-term damage to their brand.