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Introduction The predecessor of British Airways was Imperial Airways - a colonial instrument which linked the British Empire From this evolved the British Overseas Airways Corporation BOAC which was merged with British European Airways BEA to create British Airways Even after privatisation British Airways retained the image of being reserved professional and formal Each year British Airways transports 40 million consumers to 162 destinations Sixty percent of the firms business originates overseas In the nine months ending December 31 1997 British Airways declared revenues of 11 billion US including 7638 million from cargo operation This resulted in net income of 8543 million placing British Airways among the most profitable airlines in the world see Table I In 1998 the public limited company had 60000 employees up from 35000 in 1983 An overview of the industry The airline industry has undergone significant restructuring in recent years Airlines formerly rivals in a highly regulated industry have become opportunistic seekers of co-operation In todays world mega-carriers and small airlines are working together rather than competing with one another Forms of co-operation include sub-contracting code-sharing franchising and the formation of global marketing networks Such alliances allow firms to focus on their respective core competencies while drawing the benefits of scale economies In essence co-operation among competitors has led to increased competitiveness This has accelerated the trend of joint marketing and the airline has become characterised by the desire to belong to a global network The tendency has been to strive for a global presence There are several means to expand in the airline industry The traditional and relatively slow way for an airline to expand is to add flights to its schedule using its own equipment and crew For decades this was the typical means to expansion Growth was generally incremental To cite an example Qantas - originally Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Service QANTAS - started out by providing air service within Australia In time it added many
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