Few passengers worry about the design of their aircraft when it’s hurtling down a runway at 260kph, but for British Airways it’s an essential part of their centenary celebrations this year

To mark the occasion, the airline brought together its four repainted heritage liveried aircraft alongside an A319 in the current Chatham Dockyard livery, to capture a rare image of some of its most iconic designs.

A British Airways staffer stands in front of the Landor liveried aircraft at London Heathrow. Picture: Nick Morrish/British Airways)

At least 50,000 customers have flown around the globe on the four heritage liveries since they re-joined the fleet, with the Boeing 747s having travelled to New York, Cape Town, Dubai and Lagos. The BEA liveried Airbus A319 has flown across the UK and Europe.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:  “Social media has been fired up with images from travellers all over the world when they’ve spotted the aircraft. We wanted to capture a special photo to share with them.”

The four heritage planes parked at the airline’s engineering base, were lined up alongside an aircraft with the current Chatham Dockyard design. The painstaking process of arranging them for the photo took two hours.

The retro designs to mark British Airways’ centenary, along with a range of activities and events, can be followed using tracking website Flightradar24.

The airline is also hosting BA 2119 – a programme that will lead the debate on the future of flying and explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.

The centenary activity is taking place alongside the airline’s current five-year £6.5bn investment that includes fitting 128 long-haul aircraft with new interiors and taking delivery of 72 new aircraft. The airline has also revealed a brand-new business class seat with direct aisle access, the Club Suite, which will debut on the Airbus A350 later this year.