This isn’t a simple grab-bag listicle of names. We’re restricting it to what I’ll call “classic” carriers. We can skip the likes of VASP, AeroPeru or Dan-Air, much as they and many others, are missed. We’ll concentrate instead on carriers of historical significance, and whose presence, in its time, in some way helped shape the business.
Most of the accompanying photos are from my personal collection of airline postcards. They help give a vintage look and feel to the piece, and I’ve chosen those that, to me, most quintessentially represent each carrier.
Today’s British Airways was formed in the early 1970s with the merger of British European Airways (BEA) and the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). The latter, best known to some as a Beatles lyric, is among the most important players in commercial aviation history. A pioneer of long-haul travel (think Bristol Britannias, 707s and VC-10s), its network covered the globe from end to end. BA recently painted a 747 in a beautiful BOAC throwback livery.