View Full Version : BEA/BOAC callsigns/codes

4th Oct 2002, 16:15
Before BOAC and BEA merged to become British Airways in the 1970s, what were there callsigns and codes? Did BOAC use the "Speedbird" callsign, as mainline British Airways does today, and what where the codes, like BA is for British Airways today. I think BEA used the code BE like flyBE does today, but am I correct?

4th Oct 2002, 20:13
I think that BOAC used the callsign "Speedbird" as BA flights do today, and BEA used the callsign "Beeline"

Spot 4
5th Oct 2002, 07:58
Long time ago, but was BE not British Eagle??

5th Oct 2002, 08:20
Fallows is correct on the callsigns - there was a suggestion on the merger that the new one could be "Speedline", but Speedbird was kept.

Pom Pax
6th Oct 2002, 01:22
Going back further before they merged with BOAC what call sign did British South American use?
Also was Speedbird used by Imperial? I think the logo has not changed much in 65 years.

6th Oct 2002, 05:22
I don't think there were callsigns as we know them at the time of BSAA. Communications used the aircraft registration. It changed in the early 1960s if memory serves, but I could be off by several years.

Spiney Norman
6th Oct 2002, 10:25
Just following on with this topic, During the BEA/BOAC period, there was also KT, (BEA Airtours). The charter arm of BEA who got some of the Comet 4's after BOAC were finished with them. Also the regional arms of BEA. CS (Cambrian) and NE (Northeast), RTF calsign 'Norjet' who had their own distinct livery and identity but were really BEA regional. NE had a particularly smart yellow/white/black livery on their Viscounts and Tridents which led to them being known as 'Banana boats'. Cambrian had a number of very experienced pilots who were quite a law unto themselves! I remember it was quite common on a good day for the Liverpool-Isle of Man scheduled Viscount to cancel IFR and go VFR at 2000ft!


6th Oct 2002, 21:59
Bealine continued for some years after the formation of BA, not sure but was it resuscitated in the nineties by Birmingham Exec during their evolution into part of BA?.

Northeast/Cambrian (don't recall norjet but my memory is of Viscounts at LBA/EGNM) also ran on until around 76. After some messing about with mixes of BA/BE (and RT callsigns Bealine/Speedbird) for domestic/international sectors the regional division then adopted the code BZ and the RT callsign "Albion". This from around 77, any takers for when it ended?

7th Oct 2002, 03:08
Recall years ago in the early 60's in southern California hearing Speedbird 591 call at the outer marker (25L, LAX) and receiving "...ah, just what kind of bird is at the marker, say again please..." from the tower.
Then, on departure for LHR later in the evening, 592 would roll 11,500 feet on the 12,000 available and disappear over the sand dunes on the west end, in a very thick cloud of black smoke...the performance of the old 707 was not exactly breathtaking.
Found out personally a few years later. :)