"The Home Of Eagle"
Eagle Aviation
Eagle Airways
Cunard Eagle
British Eagle
1948 to 1968

The History of....

Cunard Eagle

The Cunard Steamship Company was a well-known company that had both the financial resources and experience of North Atlantic traffic, two great assets that would be of benefit to the expansion plans that Eagle desired. So the short-lived marriage of Eagle and Cunard was made. Eagle moved its operation and maintenance base to Heathrow, the maintenance base, occupying Hangers 2, 3 & 4. The new name splashed across the aircraft looked impressive; also the new Eagle emblem painted on the fins gave the aircraft a look of importance.

The lease on G-APYY was extended and two new Britannia's arrived. Things were looking exciting for the company. Then towards the end of 1961 and into 1962 the marriage with Cunard began to crumble. B.O.A.C. became concerned by the threat this new combination might be to them. They could see the advantages of having a large shipping company with themselves, and like the unfaithful maid they made overtures to Cunard. Secret negotiations were held between the chairmen of Cunard and B.O.A.C. The shock announcement was made B.O.A.C.-Cunard was to be formed. There was no place for Eagle in this new arrangement. So divorce was inevitable. Cunard transferred virtually all that Eagle had achieved by hard work during its lifetime to the new Company including the two new 707's. (One gets a good idea of what went on by reading Sir Basil Smallpiece's book 'Of Comets & Queens'.) Eagle's very existence hung in the balance, they were 'down' but certainly not 'out'. There was in the staff an attitude of 'we have been through difficult times before and survived'. They pulled together, with Harold Bamberg still at the helm having bought back a controlling interest in Eagle. The name Cunard was finally removed from aircraft and advertising. British Eagle was born.

It had been a difficult birth but it survived to keep the name of Eagle flying.......

Onward to British Eagle


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