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British Caledonian had to withdraw from East Africa and from the London-New York and London-Los Angeles routes in favour of BA.guaranteeing a certain number of Concorde upgrades in return for corporate accounts with the airline—a key factor in winning business from transatlantic competitors.The first attempt to create a new combined British airline through the merger of BOAC with BEA arose in 1953 out of inconclusive attempts between the two airlines to negotiate air rights through the British colony of Cyprus.The Chairman of BOAC, Miles Thomas, was in favour of the idea as a potential solution to a disagreement between the two airlines as to which should serve the increasingly important oil regions of the Middle East.British Airways (BA), the United Kingdom's national airline, was formed in 1974 with the merger of the two largest UK airlines, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and British European Airways (BEA), and including also two smaller regional airlines, Cambrian Airways and Northeast Airlines.The merger was the completion of a consolidation process started in 1971 with the establishment of the British Airways Board, a body created by the British government to control the operations and finances of BOAC and BEA, which initially continued to exist as separate entities.Since its creation, BA has become the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations.On 31 March 1924, Britain's four pioneer airlines that started up in the immediate post war period—Handley Page Transport, British Marine Air Navigation Co Ltd, Daimler Airways and Instone Air Line Ltd—joined together to form Imperial Airways Limited, Continental European and domestic flights were flown by a new nationalised airline, British European Airways Corporation (BEA), which compulsorily took over the scheduled services of existing UK independent airlines.
In 1967, the government established a committee of inquiry into Civil Aviation under Sir Ronald Edwards.
Following privatisation, British Airways entered a period of rapid growth, leading to the use of the slogan "The World's Favourite Airline", and dominated its domestic rivals during the early 1990s.
Faced with increased competition and higher costs in the mid-1990s, CEO Bob Ayling led a restructuring effort, leading to trade union clashes; the carrier also invested in regional European airlines, courted international airline partnerships, and attempted a controversial ethnic livery rebranding campaign.
British Airways acquired the supersonic Concorde in 1976, operating it on transatlantic services.
The same year it assumed sole operation of international flights to North America and Southeast Asia from rival British Caledonian.