28 December 2009

History doesn't guarantee permanency

First flight to India, Lady Hoare in shot

I'm struck by this item from the British Airways press office.

80 YEARS AND STILL FLYING HIGH

British Airways this week (December 30) celebrates 80 years of flying to Delhi. The maiden flight in 1929. took nearly seven days to complete and cost £130 (one way) – the equivalent of £6,190 in today’s money.

The 80-year anniversary underlines British Airways’ position as the longest standing European operator to India. The very first journey involved four different aircraft and included 20 stops on route. Customers spent nights in hotels, and for the leg between Switzerland and Italy they traveled by train.

The 80-year milestone of travel between the UK and India takes place in the same year that British Airways celebrates its 90th year anniversary as an airline.

BA has every right to be proud of its heritage, to shout about it and be applauded by us on their achievements, but don't let those remarkable achievements lull us or them (or their would-be striking staff) into a false sense of security.

Nowhere is it written into aviation law that there has to be a British Airways.

In many ways, the future existence and prosperity of British Airways is even more precarious and uncertain now than it was on 25 August 1919, when a De Havilland Airco 4A, operated by Air Transport & Travel Ltd, a forerunner company of British Airways, launched the world’s first daily international air service. It flew from Hounslow Heath to Paris Le Bourget carrying some newspapers, a consignment of leather, several brace of grouse, Devonshire cream and just a single passenger.

On a wing and a prayer, as they say.

3 comments:

clivetully said...

BA has every right to be proud of its heritage. Not so proud of the appalling English in its press release.

onliner said...

Hmm I've edited the release for length, stripping out several paragraphs. Hope that's not what you're referring to, Clive

clivetully said...

Not at all - it's the (sadly common these days) lack of understanding that the word anniversary means the yearly return of a date. Therefore to say "80-year anniversary" (I've even heard people talking about one-week anniversaries) is not only incorrect but stupid. I blame the Americans...