British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) was the British state-owned airline created in 1940 by the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd. On 1st April 1940 BOAC started operations as a single company.
BOAC aircraft kept wartime Britain connected with its colonies and the free world, often under enemy fire, and initially desperate shortages of long-range aircraft. At the end of the war BOAC’s aircraft, bases and personnel were scattered around the world, and it took a decade to reorganise it into an efficient unit at Heathrow.
In 1952 BOAC was the first airline to introduce a passenger jet into airline service. This was the de Havilland Comet which flew to Johannesburg and Tokyo. In 1958 BOAC operated the first transatlantic jet service with the larger and longer-range Comet 4.
In 1971 BOAC merged with British European Airways to form today’s British Airways.