British Airways (BA) is celebrating “80 years of flying to Hong Kong” this year, which might seem odd for an airline that was established only in 1974 with the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and British European Airways.
BOAC was formed in 1939 with the joining of British Airways Ltd (no relation to BA) and Imperial Airways, and it is for Imperial Airways’ first arrival in Hong Kong, on March 24, 1936, that BA is taking convoluted credit.
The 10-seat, four-engine de Havilland 86 biplane (right, at Kai Tak in 1936) had set off from Penang, in the then British Malaya, the previous day, and made stopovers in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and Tourane (now Danang), in Vietnam. Only one passenger, a Malaysian-Chinese aviation enthusiast, was on board, along with 16 bags of mail.
It wasn’t until the following July that a passenger (one Major A. Beckerleg) made the full eight-day journey all the way from London to Hong Kong, with more than 20 stops en route.
To mark this rather tenuous 80th anniversary, BA is offering discounted fares to Europe. A surprising 22 destinations in Britain are on offer, including the Shetland Islands and Outer Hebrides, from HK$4,680 plus fees and taxes. Fares to destinations elsewhere in Europe are priced from HK$4,080, with Albania, Gibraltar, Cyprus and Malta among the more interesting options on a list of about 40 countries, which, for some reason, includes Morocco in North Africa.
Seats are, of course, limited for these fares, which must be booked before midnight on February 3 for departures anytime up to the end of September. See ba.com for full details and reservations.