British Overseas Airways Corporation
|Founded||24 November 1939, merger of Imperial Airways (1924) and British Airways Ltd. (1935)|
|Ceased operations||31 March 1974
(merged with British European Airways to form British Airways)
|Hubs||London Heathrow Airport|
|Fleet size||~200 (at its peak)|
|Headquarters||Speedbird House, London Heathrow Airport, United Kingdom|
|Key people||Whitney Straight|
British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was the British state-owned airline created in 1940 by the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd and continued operating overseas services throughout World War II. After the passing of the Civil Aviation Act of 1946, European and South American services passed to two further state-owned airlines, British European Airways (BEA) and British South American Airways (BSAA). BOAC absorbed BSAA in 1949, but BEA went on to operate the UK's domestic and European routes for the next quarter century. A 1971 Act of Parliament merged BOAC and BEA with effect from 31 March 1974, forming today's British Airways.
- 1 History
- 2 Other BOAC companies
- 3 Destinations
- 4 Aircraft operated
- 5 Incidents
- 6 See also
- 7 Popular culture
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
The war years
On 24 November 1939, BOAC was created by Act of Parliament to become the British state airline, formed from the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd. The companies had been operating together since war was declared on 3 September 1939, when their operations were evacuated from the London area to Bristol. On 1 April 1940, BOAC started operations as a single company. Following the Fall of France (22 June 1940), BOAC aircraft kept wartime Britain connected with its colonies and the free world, often under enemy fire, and initially with desperate shortages of long-range aircraft. During the war, the airline was sometimes loosely referred to as 'British Airways', and aircraft and equipment were marked with combinations of that title and/or the Speedbird symbol and/or the Union Flag.
BOAC inherited Imperial Airways' flying boat services to British colonies in Africa and Asia, but with the wartime loss of the route over Italy and France to Cairo these were replaced by the expatriate 'Horseshoe Route', with Cairo as a hub, and Sydney and Durban as termini. Linking Britain to the Horseshoe Route taxed the resources of BOAC. Although Spain denied access, Portugal welcomed BOAC's civilian aircraft at Lisbon. However, the Mediterranean route from Lisbon or Gibraltar to Egypt via Malta risked enemy attack, so the long West Africa route had to be employed (over-water via Lisbon, Bathurst, Freetown, Lagos), then by landplane to Khartoum on the Horseshoe Route. The Empire routes had contained landplane sectors, but the Armstrong Whitworth Ensign and de Havilland Albatross ordered to replace the Handley Page HP.42 'Heracles' biplanes had proved disappointing, leaving the Short Empire flying boats as the backbone of the wartime fleet. (Only a handful of these had long range tanks but many were eventually upgraded with larger tankage and operated at overload weights). The Empire flying-boats were at their limit on the 1,900 mile Lisbon-Bathurst sector. Refuelling at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands was permitted by Spain for some Empire flying-boat flights in 1940 and 1941. In 1941 longer range Consolidated Catalinas, Boeing 314As (and later converted Short Sunderlands) were introduced to guarantee non-stop Lisbon to Bathurst sectors (thus eliminating the need to refuel at Las Palmas). BOAC's flying-boat base for Britain was shifted from Southampton to Poole, Dorset, but many flights used Foynes in Éire (Ireland), reached by shuttle flight from Whitchurch. Use of Foynes reduced the chance of enemy interception or friendly fire incidents over the English Channel. BOAC had large bases at Durban, Asmara, Alexandria and a pilots' school at Soroti, Uganda.
Experimental flights had been made across the North Atlantic pre-war by Empire flying-boats with improved fuel capacity, some using in flight refuelling, but the final series of mail/courier flights was made by BOAC's Clare and Clyde to La Guardia in camouflage during the Battle of Britain. In 1941, BOAC was tasked with operating a 'Return Ferry Service' from Prestwick to Montreal to reposition ferry pilots who had flown American-built bombers from Canada, and they were provided with RAF Consolidated Liberators with a very basic passenger conversion. This was the first sustained North Atlantic landplane service. In late 1942, the new hard-surface airport at Lisbon permitted the use of civil registered Liberators to North and West Africa and Egypt. Arguably, BOAC's most famous wartime route was the 'Ball-Bearing' run from Leuchars to Stockholm (Bromma). Initially flown with Lockheed 14s and Lockheed Hudson transports, the unsuitable Armstrong Whitworth Whitley "civilianised" bombers were also used between 9 August and 24 October 1942 ("Civilianised" meant that all the armaments and unnecessary guns and turrets had been removed). The much faster civilian registered de Havilland Mosquitoes were introduced by BOAC in 1943. The significance of the ball-bearings is debatable, but these night flights were an important diplomatic gesture of support for neutral Sweden which had two DC-3s shot down on its own service to Britain. Other types used to Sweden included, Lockheed Lodestars, Consolidated Liberators, and the sole Curtiss CW-20 (C-46 prototype) which BOAC had purchased; these types had more payload, and some had the range to avoid the enemy controlled Skaggerak direct route.
Between 1939 and 1945 a total of 500,000 tons of freight and 6,000 passengers were transported by BOAC between Stockholm and Great Britain.
Early post-war operations
At the end of the war, BOAC's fleet consisted of Lockheed Lodestars, lend-lease Douglas DC-3s, Liberators, converted Sunderlands, and the first Avro Lancastrians, Avro Yorks, and Handley Page Haltons. The Short Empire, Short S.26 and Boeing 314A flying boats, plus the AW Ensigns, were due to be withdrawn. The Corporation's aircraft, bases and personnel were scattered around the world, and it took a decade to reorganize it into an efficient unit at Heathrow. In 1943, the Brabazon Committee had laid down a set of civil aircraft transport types for the British aircraft industry to produce, but these were to be several years in coming, and particularly in the case of the tailwheel Avro Tudor, not what BOAC wanted.
Since 1941, the advanced pressurised Lockheed Constellation had been under development, and in 1946 BOAC was permitted to use dollars to purchase an initial fleet of five for the prestigious North Atlantic route (there were no equivalent British types available). Throughout the whole of BOAC's existence, the argument over buying American or (often delayed) British products continued, and Parliament, the press, British manufacturers and the unions accused BOAC management of only wanting American aircraft. Whilst the major world airlines abandoned flying-boats at the end of WWII, BOAC continued with theirs until 1950, and even introduced the new Short Solent on the leisurely Nile route to South Africa. In 1948, the unpressurised Yorks were still operating passenger services as far afield as Nairobi (Kenya), Accra (Gold Coast, later Ghana), Delhi and Calcutta (India), and the type continued to operate freight schedules until late 1957.
After its first six Lockheed 049 Constellations, BOAC had to use some ingenuity to increase its Constellation fleet. In 1947, Aer Linte in Eire bought five new Lockheed 749 Constellations, and prepared to launch a transatlantic service with assistance and crew-training from Captains O.P. Jones and J.C. Kelly-Rogers of BOAC. The project was abandoned in February 1948, and BOAC were able to buy the almost new 749s without dollar expenditure four months later. This enabled BOAC to serve Australia with Constellations from 1949. A total of 25 Constellations passed through the BOAC fleet, including 12 749As obtained from Capital Airlines in the mid-1950s, with BOAC's older 049s in part exchange.
BOAC was also permitted to spend dollars on six new Boeing Stratocruisers for its key transatlantic routes from October 1949, offering a double-deck non-stop eastbound service from New York City to London Airport (later Heathrow). However because of the prevailing westerly winds, the westbound flights needed re-fuelling at Shannon and Gander before reaching New York. Another four Stratocruisers were taken over from a frustrated SAS order and seven were bought secondhand in the mid-1950s. The Handley Page Hermes and Canadair DC-4M Argonaut joined the BOAC fleet between 1949 and 1950, replacing the last of the non-pressurised types on passenger services. When service entry of the Bristol Britannia was delayed in late 1956, BOAC was permitted to purchase ten new Douglas DC-7Cs. These long range aircraft enabled BOAC to operate non-stop westbound flights from London and Manchester to New York and other US East Coast destinations, in competition with DC-7Cs of Pan American World Airways and Lockheed Super Constellations of Trans World Airlines (TWA). This was the first purchase of aircraft direct from the Douglas Aircraft Company in BOAC's history.
Introduction of jets
In May 1952 BOAC was the first airline to introduce a passenger jet into airline service. This was the de Havilland Comet which flew via Nairobi to Johannesburg and via the Far East to Tokyo. All Comet 1 aircraft were grounded in April 1954 after four Comets crashed, the last two being BOAC aircraft at altitude. Examination of the wreckage recovered from the Mediterranean sea-bed and observation of a sample fuselage in a pressurization test-tank at Farnborough revealed that the repeated pressurization/depressurization cycles of airline operation could cause fatigue cracks in the thin aluminium alloy skin of the Comet leading to the skins ripping away explosively at altitude and disintegration of the aircraft.
Later jet airliners including the revised Comet 4 were designed to be fail-safe: in the event of for example a skin-failure due to cracking the damage would be localized and not catastrophic. In October 1958 BOAC operated the first transatlantic Jet service with the larger and longer-range Comet 4. In the 1950s turbine powered airliners were developing rapidly, and the Comet and the seriously delayed Bristol Britannia were rendered obsolescent by the flight of the swept-wing Boeing 367–80 (707 prototype) in 1954.
In 1953 Vickers had started building the swept wing VC-7/V-1000 with Rolls-Royce Conway turbofan engines, but BOAC short-sightedly decided the Britannia and Comet 4 would be adequate for its purposes, and when the military version of the V-1000 was cancelled in 1955 the 75% complete prototype was scrapped. In October 1956 BOAC ordered 15 Boeing 707s with Conway engines (briefly the most economical commercial engine option). They entered service in 1960. (The British Airworthiness Authorities insisted on tail-fin modifications which Boeing made available to all 707 users). Sir Giles Guthrie, who took charge of BOAC in 1964, preferred Boeing aircraft for economic reasons, and indeed BOAC began turning a profit in the late 1960s. After a row in Parliament the government instructed BOAC to purchase 17 Vickers VC-10 aircraft from a 30-aircraft order which Guthrie had cancelled. The Standard VC-10 had higher operating costs than the 707, largely due to BOAC's requirement at the design stage for the aircraft to have excellent hot and high performance for Commonwealth (African/Asian) routes, but the larger Super VC-10 was a success with American passengers on the North Atlantic and was profitable. The next major order of Boeing aircraft was for 11 747-100s. On 22 April 1970 BOAC received its first 747, but the aircraft did not enter commercial service until 14 April 1971 due to BOAC's inability to settle crewing and pay rates with the British Air Line Pilots' Association. BOAC's successor British Airways later became the largest Boeing customer outside North America.
Merger with BEA
On 1 September 1972, the British Airways Board was formed, a holding board that controlled BOAC and BEA. On 31 March 1974, both the BOAC and BEA were dissolved, and their operations merged to form British Airways.
BOAC would have become one of the first operators of the Concorde, had it not merged to become British Airways. BA's Concordes carried registrations of G-BOAA to G-BOAG. The first Concorde delivered to British Airways was registered G-BOAC.
Other BOAC companies
BOAC Associated Companies
BOAC held shareholdings in a number of other airlines operating in several parts of the British Commonwealth through a subsidiary, BOAC Associated Companies. These included Aden Airways, Bahamas Airways, Ghana Airways, Gulf Aviation and Nigeria Airways. In the late 1950s BOAC Associated Companies was declared to have holdings in eighteen companies.
In 1962, BOAC and Cunard formed BOAC-Cunard Ltd to operate scheduled services to North America, the Caribbean and South America. BOAC provided 70% of the new company's capital and eight Boeing 707s. The independent Cunard Eagle Airways, of which Cunard held a 60% shareholding, provided two more 707s.
BOAC-Cunard leased any spare capacity to BOAC which could use it to supplement the main BOAC fleet at peak demand, and in a reciprocal arrangement BOAC would provide capacity to BOAC-Cunard on some operations when it had a shortfall.
The effect of this arrangement was to remove competition on western routes. The operation was dissolved in 1966.
- Abadan – Abadan Airport
- Accra – Kotoka International Airport
- Aden – Aden International Airport
- Alexandria – Alexandria International Airport
- Amman – Amman Civil Airport
- Amsterdam – Schiphol Airport
- Anchorage – Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
- Antigua – V. C. Bird International Airport
- Arak – Arak Airport
- Asmara – Yohannes IV International Airport
- Auckland – Auckland Airport
- Baghdad – Baghdad International Airport
- Bahrain – Bahrain International Airport
- Bandar Lengeh – Bandar Lengeh Airport
- Bangkok – Don Mueang International Airport
- Banjul – Banjul International Airport
- Barcelona – Barcelona–El Prat Airport
- Basra – Basra International Airport
- Beirut – Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport
- Belfast – George Best Belfast City Airport
- Bermuda – L.F. Wade International Airport
- Birmingham – Birmingham Airport
- Blantyre – Chileka International Airport
- Bogota – El Dorado International Airport
- Bombay – Sahar International Airport
- Bordeaux – Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport
- Boston – Logan International Airport
- Bowen – Bowen Airport
- Bridgetown – Grantley Adams International Airport
- Brisbane – Brisbane Airport
- Buenos Aires – Ezeiza International Airport
- Bushehr – Bushehr Airport
- Cairo – Payne Airfield
- Caracas – Simón Bolívar International Airport
- Calcutta – Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport
- Casablanca – Mohammed V International Airport
- Chicago – Chicago O'Hare International Airport
- Colombo – Ratmalana Airport
- Dakar – Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport
- Dar es Salaam – Julius Nyerere International Airport
- Damascus – Damascus International Airport
- Darwin – Darwin International Airport
- Delhi – Safdarjung Airport
- Detroit – Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
- Doha – Doha International Airport
- Durban – Louis Botha Airport
- Düsseldorf – Düsseldorf International Airport
- Edinburgh – Edinburgh Airport
- Entebbe – Entebbe International Airport
- Frankfurt – Frankfurt am Main Airport
- Freeport – Grand Bahama International Airport
- Freetown – Freetown-Lungi International Airport
- Gander – Gander International Airport
- Georgetown – Cheddi Jagan International Airport
- Glasgow – Glasgow Abbotsinch Airport
- Hong Kong – Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport
- Honolulu – John Rodgers Airport
- Istambul – Istanbul Atatürk Airport
- Jakarta – Halim Perdanakusuma Airport
- Jeddah – King Abdulaziz International Airport
- Johannesburg – Jan Smuts International Airport
- Kallang – Kallang Airport
- Kano – Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport
- Kampala – Entebbe International Airport
- Karachi – Jinnah International Airport
- Kano – Kano Airport
- Khartoum – Khartoum International Airport
- Kingston – Palisadoes Airport
- Kolkata – Dum Dum Airport
- Kuala Lumpur – Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport
- Kuwait – Kuwait International Airport
- Lagos – Murtala Muhammed International Airport
- Las Palmas – Gando Airport
- Lima – Jorge Chávez International Airport
- Lisbon – Portela International Airport
- Livingstone – Livingstone Airport
- London – London Heathrow International Airport
- Los Angeles – Los Angeles International Airport
- Luxor – Luxor International Airport
- Lusaka – Lusaka International Airport
- Manchester – Manchester Ringway International Airport
- Madrid – Madrid–Barajas Airport
- Malta – Malta International Airport
- Manila - Manila International Airport
- Marseille – Marseille Provence Airport
- Mauritius – Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport
- Melbourne – Essendon Airport
- Mexico City – Benito Juárez International Airport
- Miami – Miami International Airport
- Montego Bay – Montego Bay International Airport
- Montevideo – Carrasco International Airport
- Montreal – Montreal-Trudeau International Airport
- Moscow – Moscow Vnukovo Airport
- Nadi – Nadi International Airport
- Nairobi – Nairobi International Airport
- Nassau – Lynden Pindling International Airport
- New York City – Idlewild International Airport
- Ndola – Ndola Airport
- Nicosia – Nicosia International Airport
- Nouadhibou – Nouadhibou International Airport
- Osaka – Osaka International Airport
- Perth – Perth Airport
- Port of Spain – Piarco International Airport
- Prague – Prague Ruzyne Airport
- Rangoon – Yangon International Airport
- Recife – Recife/Guararapes–Gilberto Freyre International Airport
- Rio de Janeiro – Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport
- Rome – Rome Ciampino Airport
- Saint Lucia – Hewanorra International Airport
- Salisbury – Harare International Airport
- San Francisco – San Francisco International Airport
- Santiago – Los Cerrillos Airport
- São Paulo – Congonhas-São Paulo Airport
- Shanghai – Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport
- Shannon – Shannon International Airport
- Singapore – Singapore International Airport
- Sourabaya – Juanda International Airport
- Southampton – Southampton Airport
- Stockholm – Stockholm Bromma Airport
- Sydney – Kingsford Smith International Airport
- Tel Aviv – Ben Gurion Airport
- Tehran – Tehran Mehrabad International Airport
- Tokyo – Haneda International Airport
- Toronto – Toronto Pearson International Airport
- Trinidad – Piarco International Airport
- Tripoli – Tripoli Idris International Airport
- Victoria Falls – Victoria Falls Airport
- Vienna – Vienna International Airport
- Zurich – Zurich-Kloten Airport
Dates above are for service entry with BOAC or its forerunners.
|BAC/Sud Concorde||0||0||Eight on option|
|Boeing SST||0||0||Six on option|
|BAC Super VC10||17||0|
- On 21 December 1939, Lockheed 14-WF62 Super Electra (G-AFYU) ditched in the Mediterranean Sea off Malta, killing five of 11 on board.
- On 23 May 1940, Armstrong Whitworth Ensign (G-ADSZ) stalled and crashed at Merville Airport after the crew diverted to avoid an attack by a German fighter.
- On 23 May 1940, Armstrong Whitworth Ensign G-ADTA Euryalus was damaged during a crash at RAF Lympne. It had been one of six that escaped a Luftwaffe raid on Merville Airfield, France. The intended destination was Croydon. Approaching the English coast, first she lost her port inner engine and the pilot diverted to RAF Hawkinge. Her starboard inner engine also had to be shut down shortly afterwards. The pilot changed course for Lympne. On landing, the starboard undercarriage failed to lock down, causing the wing to drag on the ground and the aircraft to go through a fence. Euryalus was flown to RAF Hamble in June, but it was decided to cannibalise her to repair G-ADSU Euterpe which had been damaged in an accident at Bonnington on 15 December 1939. Euryalus was scrapped in September 1942.
- On 29 December 1941, Short Empire (G-ADUX, named Cassiopeia) crashed after striking debris on takeoff from Sabang, Indonesia, killing four.
- On 30 January 1942, Short Empire (G-AEUH, named Corio) was shot down by seven Japanese fighter aircraft and crashed off West Timor, killing 13 of 18 on board. The aircraft was owned by BOAC, but was operated by Qantas.
- On 15 February 1942, Consolidated Liberator C I, (G-AGDR), was shot down by a Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire in error over the English Channel near Plymouth, England. All five crew and four passengers (including Townsend Griffiss) were killed.
- On 28 February 1942, Short Empire (G-AETZ) was shot down over the Pacific between Java and Broome by a Japanese fighter, killing all 20 on board. This crash is the worst ever accident involving the Short Empire.
- On 22 March 1942, Short Empire (G-AEUF) struck debris while landing and crashed at Port Darwin, Australia, killing two of 11 passengers on board; all four crew survived.
- On 15 February 1943, de Havilland Flamingo (G-AFYE) crashed at Asmara, Eritrea after going into a vertical dive from 800 feet (240 m) during a test flight, killing both pilots.
- On 4 April 1943, Lockheed C-56 (G-AGEJ) was shot down by a German fighter (Do 217 or Me 110) and crashed 32 mi off Skagen, Denmark, killing all seven on board.
- On 1 June 1943, Douglas DC-3 (G-AGBB) operating as Flight 777 was shot down over the Bay of Biscay by German Junkers Ju 88s. All seventeen crew and passengers were killed, including actor Leslie Howard. There has been widespread speculation that the downing was an attempt to kill British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
- On 28 July 1943, Short Sunderland III (G-AGES), crashed into a hill in Dingle Peninsula near the village of Brandon in Ireland on a flight from Lisbon to Foynes. The crash killed 10 passengers and crew out of 25 on board.
- On 17 December 1943, Lockheed Lodestar (G-AGDE), crashed into the sea off Leuchars, Scotland on a flight from RAF Leuchars to Stockholm-Bromma Airport. The accident killed all 10 passengers and crew on board the flight.
- On 29 August 1944, Lockheed C-60A (G-AGIH) crashed after striking the top of Mount Kinnekulle near Lidköping, Sweden, killing 11 of 15 on board.
- On 21 February 1946, Consolidated Liberator II (G-AGEM) crashed on landing at Charlottetown, Canada due to icing, killing one of 14 on board.
- On 23 March 1946, Avro Lancastrian I (G-AGLX) disappeared between Sri Lanka and the Cocos Islands with ten on board. The aircraft was owned by BOAC, but was operated by Qantas.
- On 14 August 1946, Douglas Dakota III (G-AGHT) crashed at Luqa Airport due to fuel starvation after the auxiliary fuel tanks were selected by mistake, killing one of five on board.
- On 11 January 1947, Douglas Dakota III (G-AGJX) crashed at Stowting, Kent whilst on an international scheduled flight from Heathrow to West Africa via Bordeaux. A number of attempts were made to divert in poor weather. The aircraft crashed whilst attempting to land at Lympne. Eight people were killed and eight injured of the five crew and 11 passengers.
- On 16 July 1947, Avro York C.1 (G-AGNR) crashed at Az-Zubair, Iran due to pilot and ATC errors, killing all six crew; all 12 passengers survived.
- On 23 August 1947, Short Sandringham 5 (G-AHZB) crashed on landing at Bahrain Marine Air Base due to the pilot using an incorrect procedure for landing and takeoff, killing ten of 26 on board.
- On 19 November 1947, Short Sunderland 3 (G-AGHW) struck high ground at Brightstone Down in poor visibility due to navigation errors by the pilot, killing one of four on board.
- On 14 July 1948, Douglas Dakota IV (G-AGKN) crashed into cloud-covered cliffs near Toulon, France, killing all six on board.
- On 26 May 1952, Handley Page Hermes IV (G-ALDN) crashed 71 mi from Atar, Mauritania due to navigation and pilot errors; all on board survived, but the first officer died five days later.
- On 2 May 1953, Flight 783/057, a de Havilland Comet I (G-ALYV) ("Yoke-Victor"), crashed near Calcutta, India after a structural failure of the airframe, when the flight took off from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport on a flight to Delhi. The crash killed all 43 passengers and crew on board the Comet aircraft.
- On 10 January 1954, Flight 781, a de Havilland Comet I (G-ALYP) ("Yoke-Peter"), took off from Ciampino Airport in Rome, Italy en route to Heathrow Airport in London, England when it suffered an explosive decompression at altitude and crashed into the Mediterranean Sea, killing everyone on board.
- On 13 March 1954, a Lockheed L-749A Constellation (G-ALAM), crashed at Kallang Airport after a flight from Jakarta, killing 33 people out of 40 passengers and crew on board.
- On 8 April 1954, de Havilland Comet I (G-ALYY) ("Yoke-Yoke"), was operating as South African Airways Flight 201 when it crashed into the Mediterranean near Naples, Italy. The aircraft was operating for South African on behalf of BOAC.
- Early on Christmas Day 25 December 1954, at 0330 hours, a BOAC Boeing 377 Stratocruiser crashed on landing at Prestwick, killing 28 of the 36 passengers and crew on board. The aircraft had been en route from London to New York City, when, on approach to Prestwick, it entered a steep descent before levelling-out too late and too severely, hitting the ground short of the runway. A number of factors have been attributed to the cause of the crash, including pilot fatigue (the captain was well over his duty limit due to the aircraft being delayed), the landing lights at Prestwick being out of action due to repair and the First Officer either not hearing a command from the Captain for landing lights (which may have helped judge the low cloud base) or mistakenly hitting the flaps, causing the aircraft to stall.
- On 21 September 1955, a Canadair Argonaut (G-ALHL) crashed on its fourth attempt to land at Tripoli International Airport after a flight from London and Rome. The accident killed 15 passengers and crew out of 47 people on board.
- On 24 June 1956, Canadair Argonaut (G-ALHE) crashed after taking off from Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport on a flight to Tripoli International Airport. The crash killed 32 passengers and crew out of 45 people on board.
- On 24 December 1958, a Bristol Britannia 312 (G-AOVD) crashed during a test flight near Winkton, England, killing nine of 12 on board.
- On 5 March 1966, Flight 911, a Boeing 707 (G-APFE), crashed on Mount Fuji after experiencing clear air turbulence. All 124 on board died.
- On 9 April 1968, Flight 712 a Rolls-Royce Conway engine exploded and broke-off the wing of a Boeing 707 (G-ARWE) ("Whisky-Echo") following take-off from London Heathrow Airport causing an uncontained wing fire. A successful emergency landing at Heathrow was carried out but a stewardess and four passengers were killed and 38 other passengers were injured as the fire spread during evacuation. The stewardess, Barbara Jane Harrison, was awarded a posthumous George Cross for her part in helping passengers escape.
- On 9 September 1970, Flight 775, a Vickers VC10, became the first British plane to be hijacked as part of the Dawson's Field hijackings.
- On 23 July 1971, BOAC Flight 045, from London to Khartoum, was forced by military jets to landing at Benghazi at 3.30 am. New Sudanese President Babiker El Nur, instated a week previously in a political coup, was instructed to leave the aircraft, otherwise the fighter planes would bomb it. President Babiker El Nur quickly agreed to leave in order to save the lives of the other passengers. He was quickly taken off the aircraft along with his companion, Major Farouk Osman Hamadullah, to be held at gunpoint. Despite the best efforts to save the President and his staff-member, both men were ultimately executed.
- On 3 August 1971, BOAC Flight 600, operated by a Boeing 747 from Montreal to London, was diverted to Denver, Colorado due to a bomb hoax inspired by a TV film Doomsday Flight. The aircraft travelled 3,200 miles out of its way to land in Denver. The supposed bomb was thought to be triggered by flying below 5,000 feet. Denver's airport was above 5,000 feet.
- Miles Thomas, Chairman of BOAC at the time of the 1950s Comet crashes.
- Evolutions of the BOAC logo inherited from Imperial Airways, the Speedbird, continue to be used as the logo for British Airways, and continues to be used as BA's call sign. A recent commercial summarising the history of British Airways shows a BOAC VC10 aircraft.
- Autechre's 1998 album LP5 features the song "Under BOAC" as its seventh track.
- The Beatles song "Back in the U.S.S.R." (released in 1968 on the White Album) begins with the line "Flew in from Miami Beach BOAC."
- Bobby Bloom's 1970 song "Montego Bay" in its first line refers to a jetliner as a "BOAC," pronouncing it as a word rather than as a string of letters, which was more usual.
- The acronym/title "Better on a Camel" was a popular nickname for BOAC.
- in the animated film Hey There It's Yogi Bear the car Yogi Bear and Boo Boo were hitching a ride on glides into a BOAC cargo plane at an airport. Several other BOAC aircraft were seen as well.
- BOAC featured heavily in the 1998 BBC four-part documentary Mrs Campbell's Luggage.
- "World Airline Directory", Flight International, 28 September 1967: 530
- Jackson, 1990, p. 379.
- Scholefield 1998, p. 86
- BOAC's New Chairman
- "Brickbats at BOAC". Time. 24 March 1967.
- "Towards a British Aeroflot" Flight International 12 March 1970.
- "World Airlines 1970". Flight International. 26 March 1970.
- Accident description for G-AFYU at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 28 July 2014.
- Accident description for G-ADSZ at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 28 July 2014.
- "Ensign Class". Flight (15 February 1957): p203–07. (p203, p204, p205, p206).
- Accident description for G-ADUX at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AETZ at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AEUF at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AFYE at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AGEJ at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Goss, Christopher H. (2001). Bloody Biscay: The History of V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40. Manchester: Crécy Publishing. pp. 50–56. ISBN 0-947554-87-4.
- N/461. "Howard & Churchill". Retrieved 2 December 2006.
- Accident description for G-AGES at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 November 2010.
- Accident description for G-AGDE at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 November 2010.
- Accident description for G-AGIH at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AGEM at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AGLX at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AGHT at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AGNR at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AHZB at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AGHW at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-AGKN at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 January 2013.
- Accident description for G-ALYV at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 November 2010.
- Accident description for G-ALSA at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 November 2010.
- Accident description for G-ALHL at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 18 November 2010.
- "Special Report: British Overseas Airline Company Flight 712". airdisaster.com. Retrieved 9 January 2008.
- "A government hijacking". Flight International. 29 July 1971. p. 150. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- "Theme of Movie Blamed For Inspiring Bomb Hoax". The Victoria Advocate. 4 August 1971. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Cooper, Barbara, ed. B.O.A.C Book of Flight. London: Max Parrish, 1959.
- Higham, Robin. Speedbird: The Complete History of BOAC. London: I.B. Tauris, distributed by Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 491 page scholarly history. ISBN 978-1-78076-462-7.
- Jackson, A.J. Avro Aircraft since 1908. London: Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-834-8.
- Munson, Kenneth. Pictorial History of BOAC and Imperial Airways. London: Ian Allan, 1970. ISBN 0-7110-0136-7.
- Penrose, Harald. Wings Across the World: An Illustrated History of British Airways. London: Cassell, 1980 ISBN 0-304-30697-5.
- Scholefield, R.A. Manchester Airport. Sutton Publishing, 1998. ISBN 0-7509-1954-X.
- Woodley, Charles. BOAC: An Illustrated History. Stroud, England: Tempus, 2004. ISBN 0-7524-3161-7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to British Overseas Airways Corporation.|
- British Airways Archive and Museum Collection
- BOAC Junior Jet Club Information
- Some BOAC timetables-- where they flew, how long it took, etc
- Catalogue of the BOAC Operational Research Branch archives, held at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick