Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Ground & Other Ops Forums > ATC Issues
Reload this Page >

British Airways Callsigns

ATC Issues A place where pilots may enter the 'lions den' that is Air Traffic Control in complete safety and find out the answers to all those obscure topics which you always wanted to know the answer to but were afraid to ask.

British Airways Callsigns

Old 19th Dec 2011, 19:19
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: United Kingdom (EGKK)
Posts: 109
British Airways Callsigns

Hi Guys

Please would sometime explain to me the difference between the various types of BA callsigns that i've noticed, ofcourse I understand the normal format e.g.Speedbird 987. However, why do someflights get a callsign of Shuttle 7 A & others get Speedbird 401R, why the shuttle instead of just Speedbird & why the Romeo after the flight number?

Mark
patm92 is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 19:30
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: UK
Age: 28
Posts: 117
I believe the shuttle call sign is used for domestic flights?
FlyingEagle21 is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 19:35
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 1,442
Shuttle is used for domestic flights and the service number is usually used as call sign for international flights unless there exists the possibility of confusion with another flight in which case an alphanumeric call sign is allocated.
Megaton is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 20:19
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 6,488
The former BOAC (Speedbird c/s) and BEA (Bealine c/s) operations were merged in 1974 using Speedbird, and the following year the enhanced domestic operations of the no-reservations BA Shuttle were started. There were just too many chances of confusion in RT calls around London (and possibly some incidents) so the domestic flights were given a new callsign of Shuttle.

The Shuttle concept was eventually abandoned and the services reverted to a normal scheduled operation, but the callsign remains, and is employed on other domestic routes as well which were never part of the proper Shuttle operation.
WHBM is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 21:26
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 116
More info in this thread

http://www.pprune.org/atc-issues/191...all-signs.html
Endeavour is offline  
Old 20th Dec 2011, 23:55
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: In the rain
Posts: 269
Most airlines around Europe these days use alpha numeric call signs that bear no resemblance to the commercial flight number to reduce the chances of call sign confusion, so for example if XX5324 and XX5234 are scheduled to fly about the same time one might be 324F and the other 523Y or 52AQ or some other weird/whacky combination.

Some airlines are more keen on this than others, BA don't do it too often whereas easyjet or Lufthansa rarely use the commercial flight number.

S.
babotika is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2011, 07:24
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: UK
Age: 74
Posts: 222
From memory, with an association from my Father’s employment in BEA/BA and mine from 1950 to 2001 and subsequent flying over the UK to 2010, the following callsigns were used.

Keyline – from the postwar BEA days until the early 50s, when the BEA livery incorporated a winged key. The HQ was at Keyline House. Route Information

Speedbird – BOAC/BA

Bealine – BEA/ BA shorthaul early 50s to late 70s

Shuttle – already explained

Albion – BA regional including the Channel Islands and Scottish divisions together with the ex BKS (Northeast) and Cambrian regional services.

And lastly apparently Santa, although I never used or heard it!

Additionally the franchise airlines and subsidiaries used their own callsigns, e.g. Bmed, GB, Cityflyer etc.

The only two survivors are Speedbird and Shuttle although Bealine was used by the tugs at Heathrow (still?) and Beeline, which has been adopted by Brussels Airlines.
Flightwatch is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2011, 07:55
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: LHR/EGLL
Age: 41
Posts: 4,333
...For interest's sake, 'Bealine' is still used as the callsign for towing BA aircraft.
Gonzo is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2011, 09:16
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: southeast england
Posts: 138
...For interest's sake, 'Bealine' is still used as the callsign for towing BA aircraft.
Only at Staines international AFAIK (local arrangement?) At Gatwick all towed aircraft use "Tug XXX" (last 3 of the registration)
vespasia is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2011, 09:44
  #10 (permalink)  
GT3
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 531
All towed aircraft at LHR use their company and the last two letters of the reg (or the numbers if it's a US carrier). Aside from BA towing a/c.
GT3 is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2011, 15:26
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Home away from home
Posts: 562
I spent an entire day in the VCR at EGLL and didn't notice that, I thought they were also called "Speedbird AM" etc. Guess I was focusing to much on keeping up with what everyone was actually doing to notice
Crazy Voyager is offline  
Old 31st Dec 2011, 19:08
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: frozen norff
Posts: 215
Favourite BA callsign, 'Shuttle 1T'.

Back in the 2-letter days...

JustaFew is offline  
Old 31st Dec 2011, 19:16
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: That France
Posts: 251
Albion, eh? That'd bring a smile to the eyes of one ex-ATCA friend of mine...

My Dad was a BKS pilot, (DC3s, Viscounts and Tridents) ISTR that at some point the idea was floated for 'Norjet' as a callsign for the jets to distinguish them from the Viscounts and Elizabethans.

Anyone else remember that?
Minesthechevy is offline  
Old 31st Dec 2011, 19:28
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: EGSS
Posts: 912
Global Supply Systems also use the Speedbird callsign on the 747-400F/-8F flying contract for BAWC. Normally a 4 number callsign starting with 3. For example "Speedbird 3571".
Flightmech is offline  
Old 31st Dec 2011, 19:34
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The foot of Mt. Belzoni.
Posts: 1,996
Certainly do Chev!
I remember watching the Northeast A/C going south on Amber One East, (POL-DTY), listening to them talking to Preston on 127.45. Easily spotted from Loughborough with that great yellow and grey livery. About the same time, I used to listen to Radio Luxembourg, on 208m, while doing 'O' Level homework. They had a commercial. "Northeast, the fast and friendly way". It used to punctuate music by Jethro Tull, Joni, Redbone and The Doors.
Magic Times.
ZOOKER is offline  
Old 31st Dec 2011, 21:30
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: That France
Posts: 251
I remember that the time between POL and EGNT went very quickly when you were doing 400kts.

I was walking through LL Terminal One one day in the late 1980s and I saw a guy carrying a load of NE posters and stuff. He was moving from one office to another and I persuaded him to let me have a few items, which I still have.

(At this point the Chevy gets all dewey-eyed and incoherent - younger readers might want to skip to the next message)

Ah, Preston. Great place, great folks. Went back there with a few former inmates a year or so ago - its now an animal research centre of some kind but we found the remains of the bar in an outhouse.
Minesthechevy is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2012, 03:43
  #17 (permalink)  
10W

PPRuNe Bashaholic
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 1997
Location: The Peoples Alcoholic Republic of Jockistan
Posts: 1,439
its now an animal research centre
So no change then ?
10W is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2012, 06:56
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Berkshire, UK
Age: 76
Posts: 8,275
Ah Norjet... One Christmas Eve the Trident broke some sort of record flying into Heathrow. I was on GMC and invited the crew up ("and bring the crumpet!"). They duly arrived with the girls and a case of beer for us. Bet that doesn't happen nowadays...?
HEATHROW DIRECTOR is offline  
Old 2nd Jan 2012, 08:24
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: On the wireless...
Posts: 1,894
Originally Posted by Minesthechevy
ISTR that at some point the idea was floated for 'Norjet' as a callsign for the jets to distinguish them from the Viscounts
"Norjet" was used. ISTR that "Norprop" was considered for the Viscounts but don't recall it happening.

Originally Posted by Zooker
I remember watching the Northeast A/C going south on Amber One East, (POL-DTY), listening to them talking to Preston on 127.45. Easily spotted from Loughborough with that great yellow and grey livery. About the same time, I used to listen to Radio Luxembourg, on 208m, while doing 'O' Level homework. ......Magic Times.
Many a good UK ATCO developed his aircraft/airline recognition and multi-tasking techniques in such a manner: homework + spotting with a Hilkinson Panchratic + listening to the airways on the Shorrock or Gauer + listening to Radio Luxembourg on a second receiver ......+ eating their tea.

The best 'wing-men' were usually spotters, they could spot duff gen a mile off before it got into the 9020...

Now the spotters can add scanners and SBS etc to the list so fudging metal dots at 30,000 feet must be really high tech these days...

Weren't the back-up shuttles aircraft reg rather than alpha-numeric?
Talkdownman is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.