The History of BEA airtours

(for more on the history of BEA / British Airtours click here)


Call sign was:    BEATOURS

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Comet 4Bs G-ARGM, G-APMG and F at Gatwick 1971 - Copyright Caz Caswell

BEA airtours

NOTE: BEA Airtours became British Airtours with the merger of it's parent company, BEA with the long-haul state sister airline BOAC .

BEA Airtours started in 1969 and made a first flight in 1970 using ex-BEA Comet 4Bs on inclusive tour holiday charters to the sun. The first livery was a BEA livery but with additional 'airtours' titles.



JL takes off on First comercial flight for BEA Airtours

The airline ordered ex-American Airlines Boeing 707-123s in 1971 but this purchase was not completed as BEA and BOAC demanded that the carrier buy ex-BEA and BOAC aircraft instead. So ex-BOAC Boeing 707s with RR Conway engines were introduced in 1971.   They were later used on charters from Gatwick and Newcastle.  Trans-Atlantic charters were flown in 1973 with the 707s. By 1974 the Comet 4B jets were retired as more 707s entered service.

BEA Airtours Comet 4Bs lined up at Gatwick


BEA Airtours Boeing 707-436 G-APFH in 1973 - Copyright unknown


1974: With parent company BEA's merger into the new British Airways the airline changed it's name and livery. It became British Airtours and the new livery was a basic British Airways 1974 livery but with a new fin design - the titles 'British airtours' were placed underneath a red upper fin. The earlier Boeing 707s were replaced with later versions powered by P&W JT3 engines, again from British Airways stock. 


Boeing 707-336 G-AXXY at Gatwick in 1983 - Airline History

By the 1980s BEA Airtours had replaced the Boeing 707s with Tristars and Boeing 737-200s. 


Boeing 737-236 G-BGJK at Gatwick 1983 -Airline History site


A Boeing 747 was used for transatlantic charters for a summer in the early 1980s.


Boeing G-BDXL 747-236 at Heathrow - Airline History website

Prior to it's dissolution the airline changed it's livery to match the newly introduced dark blue British Airways livery.

Copyright Airline History website



Tristar 100 G-BBAJ at Gatwick in 1982

Copyright Airline History website

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