22 Feb 2012

From Britain, with love - British Caledonian airways

Bond lands at Nice, Côte d'azur
The next post in the travel section will cover British Caledonian airways (BCal), which was Bond's choice of airline in Never say never again 1983. Bond traveled from Nassau to Côte d'azur and landed at Nice airport with a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 from British Caledonian. This was a private, independent British airline that operated between 1970 and 1988. It was formed in 1970 when the Scottish airline, Caledonian Airways took over British United Airways (BUA), the largest independent airline at the time. The takeover eventually turned British Caledonian into Britain's foremost independent international scheduled airline.
original picture website
A similar DC-10 that featured in the film
British Caledonian airways fits well together with the Bond character. Their commercial strategy was to promote themselves with their stewardesses, known as the "Caledonian girls", as the cutest girls in the world. When you chose Caledonian, you chose the Caledonian girls. No wonder why Bond wanted to fly Caledonian! One can imagine that it would have attracted Connery and helped to persuade him into returning to the role of 007, 12 years after his last Bond film Diamonds are forever. The airline receives a thank you at the end credits but is never mentioned, and has never been seen in another Bond film.

Sadly, a number of setbacks during the 70's and 80's led to financial difficulties and in December 1987 British Caledonian was taken over by British Airways. They ceased operations in 1988.

Photo from ba.com - history and heritage 1980-1989

British Caledonian was the first British airline to introduce the DC-10 and had one of the largest DC-10 fleets in Europe. It was introduced with BCal in March 1977 and operated until they ceased operations in 1988.

The British Caledonian TV adverts are a fantastic piece of commercial history that should be watched!