With the Vickers Viscount, BEA was the world’s first airline to fly a turbine-powered aircraft. The type proved extremely successful, serving for more than 20 years in a range of ever-improved versions. Bob O’Brien tells the BEA Viscount story.
British European Airways (BEA) was officially established on August 1, 1946 – the new Civil Aviation Act allowing scheduled air services to operate in various parts of the world, particularly Europe and the British Isles. Existing private airlines were nationalised, with BEA given a monopoly of domestic and European services. The airline was organised into two parts, the Continental Division was centred on London’s Northolt airport and the Domestic Division was based in the north of England at Liverpool’s Speke airport.