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About This Book
BEA was formed in 1946 and took over most UK domestic and European routes under the British government's nationalisation policy. It began operations with a fleet of outdated and hopelessly uneconomic passenger aircraft that were derivatives of wartime types such as the DC-3, Avro Viking and Rapide. By the end of 1955 the airline had re-equipped with more modern types such as the jet-prop Viscount and moved into a profit for the first time. From 1960 onwards the airline introduced larger jets such as the Comet, Trident and BAC 1-11. BEA merged with the British Overseas Airways Corporation in 1974 to form British Airways.
This book looks at BEA's predecessors, its formation and early operation from Croydon and Northolt and the move to the newly-opened London Heathrow. The evolving structure is explained with chapters covering engineering bases, terminals, European and domestic services, cargo services and helicopter operations. The aircraft flown are all described in detail and the book includes anecdotes from former crew and ground-staff, a full fleet list and is highly illustrated throughout.