CROYDON: Rivalry at London’s ‘first’ hub airport

Competition, comfort and co-operation became bywords for Croydon-connected carriers as they vied for speed records, new standards in flight experiences and even teamed up on popular routes as we discover in the fourth of our six weekly forays into the hub’s history

In 1935, British Airways Ltd (BAL) – initially Allied British Airways – was formed from the merger of United Airways, Hillman’s Airways and Spartan Air Lines, moving its base from Gatwick to Croydon in 1937. BAL’s modern Lockheed 10 Electras covered the Paris route in 1hr 30 mins and, the following year, the carrier took over the short-lived Croydon-based British Continental Airways, which had initially run schedules to Belgium before extending its reach to Malmo in Sweden.

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