The British Overseas Airway Corporation or BOAC, as it was normally known, was a British state-owned airline created in 1940 with the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways Limited. The two companies had been operating together from the start of the war after being moved to Bristol Airport from the London area. This company lasted until 1974 when they merged with British European Airways (BEA) to create the state-owned British Airways which still exists today albeit now as a private company.
In May 1952 BOAC became the first airline in the world to fly passenger jets with the de Havilland Comet which initially flew via Nairobi to Johannesburg and via the Far East to Tokyo.
Just two years after its maiden commercial flight all the Comet 1 aircraft were grounded in 1954 after four unexplained crashes – the last two BOAC aircraft at altitude.
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