A British Airways aircraft in the recognisable British European Airways (BEA) design has arrived at Gatwick for the first time in its flying history.
The A319 has been painted to mark British Airways’ centenary and has until now been based out of Heathrow.
Over the coming weeks, it will fly routes from Gatwick across the UK and Europe, giving customers flying to or from the West Sussex airport an opportunity to see the special design up close.
The aircraft can be followed using tracking website Flightradar24, which will feature a special image of the livery.
The aircraft, registration G-EUPJ, is adorned with the BEA livery, which flew predominantly on domestic and European routes between 1959 and 1968.
However, there is one significant difference with the replica; the aircraft has a grey upper wing, rather than the traditional red, to meet current wing paint reflectivity requirements.
Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Our centenary is an exciting year for us, and the heritage liveries are an important part of our celebrations, so we were keen to make sure travellers flying from Gatwick didn’t miss out.
“The BEA design signifies an important part of our history. The airline shaped, who we are today, so we hope that customers flying out of the airport, and on our extensive short-haul Gatwick network, enjoy seeing the aircraft fly.”
The BEA liveried A319 was the second aircraft with a heritage design to enter the British Airways fleet this year following the arrival of its BOAC 747 long-haul counterpart.
Two other heritage designs entered the fleet after the BEA – both 747s with the Landor and Negus designs.
British Airways flies to over 70 destinations from Gatwick, with its network continuing to expand. From May 15, the airline will fly three times a week to Kos and from September 1 it will fly six times a week to Milan Bergamo.
British Airways is also increasing the number of flights to winter sun hotspot Cancun, which will move to a five-per-week service during the winter season.
In its centenary year, British Airways is hosting a range of activities and events. As well as looking back, the airline is also hosting BA 2119 – a programme, which will lead the debate on the future of flying and explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.
The airline will be working with expert partners to identify BA’s 100 Great Britons; the people up and down the country, who are currently shaping modern Britain, and of course, the year would not be complete without some special flying and moments for customers.
The centenary activity is taking place alongside the airline’s current five-year £6.5bn investment for customers.
This includes the installation of the best quality Wi-Fi and power in every seat, fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft.
The airline has also revealed a brand-new business class seat with direct aisle access, the Club Suite, which will debut on the Airbus A350 later this year.