Turning forty has never been so glamorous, as seen by presenter Denise Van Outen who modelled a vintage Hardy Amies 1974 air hostess uniform, to mark British Airways fortieth anniversary this week.
The airline, which charts its history back to 1919, became British Airways in April 1974 following the merger of BOAC and BEA. It’s in good company, along with Victoria Beckham, Leonardo di Caprio, Robbie Williams, David Mitchell, Emilia Fox and Denise Van Outen - who all join the ’40 Club’ this year.
Denise Van Outen, said: “Forty is no longer seen as a scary age and I’m looking forward to celebrating my milestone birthday in a few weeks.
“It was really fascinating looking at the vintage British Airways uniforms, to see the craftsmanship and history attached to them. It takes me back to family holidays when I was a kid!”
The airline has searched its historic archives to release past, present and possibly future uniforms to coincide with its ruby anniversary. They include the first uniform from 1922 on Daimler Airways one of British Airways’ predecessors, the Hardy Amies two-piece from the seventies, the current Julien Macdonald uniform, and a sci-fi futuristic concept.
British Airways is also celebrating with special ‘Ruby Murray’ curry dishes on board selected flights departing from London and America in World Traveller cabins in April. These include a Chettinad Chicken dish and a Keralan vegetable curry – both served with pilau rice and a side of tadka dhal and naan bread.
For those wanting to take an in-depth look back at the airline’s complete history spanning more than 95 years, Paul Jarvis, archivist at the British Airways Heritage Centre has written ‘British Airways: An Illustrated History’, which features historic advertising posters and imagery, which show how attitudes to travel and culture have changed.
Jarvis, said: “The year 1974 was an important milestone for us, bringing together our short-haul and long-haul operations under the same name and organisation.
“The era began with Concorde, then privatisation, then a whole string of innovations right up to the present day. What is most fascinating however, is how attitudes to travel have changed. Forty years ago, a hop over to New York for a shopping trip would have been unthinkable - today it’s a weekend break many of us enjoy every year. Today the world is a pretty accessible place, but look back forty years ago and Jersey was the most common holiday destination and the Greek Islands was as exotic as it got!”
Exclusive interviews with Paul Jarvis and Denise Van Outen filmed for the anniversary, can be viewed at; youtube.com/flybritishairways
In 1974 when British Overseas Airways Corporation, BOAC, and British European Airways, BEA, amalgamated as British Airways, it had more than 200 aircraft. Today, British Airways has a fleet of more than 280 and flies to nearly 180 destinations around the world. It was voted the Consumer Superbrand in 2014 - the first time an airline has ever been awarded top position.
To take a look back at the airline’s archive, or to find out more about British Airways’ Heritage Centre, please visit: ba.com/history
‘British Airways: An Illustrated History’ by Paul Jarvis is published by Amberley Publishing and is available at the end of March from bookstores and online.
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