If we are talking about BA
, as opposed to its predecessors, it is wrong to say that BA
's history with new aircraft has not been the most successful.
BOAC, and to a smaller extent BEA, were launch customers of the Comet, Concorde, etc due to political reasons. You must remember that at the time the aircraft were introduced, both airlines were under state control and ownership. In brief, the Comet project took air travel into the unknown - it flew higher and faster than any aircraft and introduced new technology.
The origins of the Comet project went back to the years of World War 2. The British Government wanted to give the nation something to be proud of and the Comet fitted the project nicely. Who other than BOAC, the state owned airline, than to be the launch customer? If the Chairman of BOAC had refused, then clearly he would have been fired from his job by the government. BOAC was not the only airline desperate to be the first with the Comet - privately owned airlines like Pan Am, UTA, and other state-owned airlines like SAA, Air France etc all placed orders for Comets.
It was rumoured that BOAC did not want Concorde but again Government interference forced them to take the aircraft. After all, if the state airlines of Britain and France, developers of Concorde, did not want the aircraft, would anybody else want it? IIRC the UK Government bore all costs of buying and introducing Concorde in BOAC's fleet.
Once the metal fatigue problems were found and solved, Comet did enjoy some modest success. It beat the 707 by being the first jet to fly transatlantic. However, Boeing learnt for the Comet's problems and this gave them headway for future orders. De Havilland, the Comet's manufacturers, shared information they had learnt about metal fatigue with Boeing.
BOAC introduced the VC10 and the Super VC10. Both models were fine aircraft, popular with crews and passengers alike, but did not sell in large numbers. They were not successful but equally not unsuccessful.
BEA introduced the Trident and most of its variants - Trident 2, Trident 3. The Trident was for many years the backbone of the BEA fleet and was the first passenger aircraft with autoland. Even in the last few years of the Trident's life, these old aircraft could land when newer 737s were grounded by fog - a common occurrence on many of BEA's destinations.
I had always thought the original 747s ordered by BA
had Rolls-Royce engines. It is true that the 747s ordered by BOAC had Pratt & Witney engines.
was not the launch customer of the 777. They were an early customer.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."