British Airways celebrates 80th anniversary of flights to Bahrain
- Bahrain: Wednesday, December 05 - 2012 at 14:55
- PRESS RELEASE
British Airways celebrates its 80th anniversary of flights to Bahrain and the Middle East with an event tonight at the British Embassy in Manama.
The Handley Page HP42 aircraft took off from Croydon, just south of London, on 2 October 1932. It travelled at just 160kmh and carried fewer than 20 passengers. The aircraft stopped in Bahrain en route to India and also touched down in Kuwait and Sharjah, UAE. It took six days to reach Sharjah.
Today, 80 years later, a British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Kuwait on a Boeing 777 takes approximately six hours, travels at 988kmh and can carry up to 345 passengers across four classes.
Paolo De Renzis, Area Commercial Manager, Middle East and Central Asia, said: "The growth of the aviation industry has been one of the most significant developments in travel and we are especially proud to have been a part of it in the Middle East. British Airways has pioneered many aviation firsts and are currently two years into a £5 billion investment plan that includes new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges and new technologies."
Since the first flight in 1932, the Middle East has been a key market for British Airways. Currently the airline flies to eight cities in six GCC countries with 68 flights per week during the winter schedule, including daily flights between Bahrain and London Heathrow.
Imperial Airways began passenger flights to Bahrain in April 1935. The journey started in London (Croydon) and flew to Paris. The journey from Paris to Brindisi was by rail, but continued by air to Athens, Alexandria, Cairo, Gaza, Rutbah Wells, Baghdad, Basra and finally to Kuwait and Bahrain.
Two years later, the airline began C Class flying boat services from Southampton to Karachi with stops in Marseilles, Rome, Brindisi, Athens, Alexandria, Tiberias, Habbaniyeh, Basra, Bahrain, Dubai and Jiwani. The flying boat service continued under BOAC, in conjunction with Qantas, with twice-weekly services between Poole and Sydney, stopping in Marseilles, Augusta, Cairo, Basra, Bahrain and Singapore.
British Airways operated the first commercial supersonic Concorde flight on 21 January 1976 from London Heathrow to Bahrain. The flight, which took less than four hours, continued until October 1980. In February 1979, Queen Elizabeth flew to Kuwait on the Concorde at the start of a three-week Middle East tour that also included Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
As part of the 80th anniversary celebration, British Airways has organised a catwalk show of crew uniforms from throughout the decades. The uniforms depict the fashion and style of the times, with many having been designed by Britain's most famous designers and fashion houses. "As the aviation industry in the Middle East continues to grow, we look forward to being a part of its development for the next 80 years and beyond," De Renzis said.
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