BRITISH AIRWAYS TriStars: HIGH, WIDE AND HANDSOME

The versatile and reliable Lockheed TriStar served with British Airways for almost 20 years. David Ransted recalls its career with the airline.

One of the three British Airways TriStar 1s converted to -50s.
AirTeamImages. com/Wolfgang Mendorf

In the late 1960s BEA (British European Airways) identified the need for a widebody airliner that would stem its declining share of the European market, provide economy of scale and reduce costs.

The corporation considered Lockheed’s L1011 TriStar Douglas (later McDonnell Douglas) DC-10 and Airbus A300B. The carrier went for the L1011 because, compared with the European aircraft, it offered better range and economies of scale with its greater capacity. It also concluded the Tristar offered superior economics over the DC-10 as well as greater British content.

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