By Rupert van den Broek
British Airways, the UK's flagship carrier, is this month celebrating the 75th anniversary of its Middle East services.
British Airways, the UK's flagship carrier, is this month celebrating the 75th anniversary of its Middle East services. It began its service in the Middle East back in 1932 when the UAE's ports were the vital commercial centres of Trucial Oman. Imperial Airways, the airline that was to become British Airways, used Sharjah International Airport as their first UAE destination.
In the earliest days of the routes inception the C Class flying boat service flew from Southampton to Marseille then onto Rome, Athens, Alexandria, crossed the Sea of Galilee to land in Tiberias, before refuelling again in Habbiniyeh and Basra, en-route to Bahrain, Dubai then Jiwani and finally landing in Karachi.
Direct services to Dubai and Abu Dhabi began in 1966 and 1968 respectively, under the mantle of British Overseas Airways Corporation, and in 1972, Concorde, the joint venture between British Airways and Air France, took off on its maiden flight to Bahrain.
The carrier now operates 49 weekly flights from the GCC to London Heathrow. 14 weekly flights to London Heathrow from Dubai and daily services from Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Muscat.
"This service milestone highlights British Airways' long-standing regional commitment to the Gulf," said Paul Starrs, British Airways' Commercial Manager for the Middle East.
"This region has evolved exponentially during this time and, while emerging as a vastly important market for the airline, has become a case-study on how to build credible business environments through economic diversification for people the world over.
our passengers can now access every corner of the world by utilising our global network of over 140 destinations in more than 70 countries, making us the industry leader."