British Airways has signed up actor Naomi Watts to help the airline celebrate its 80th anniversary of flights to Australia.
The UK flag carrier’s first flight with paying customers to Australia began on April 13 1935, with then Imperial Airways operating the service in partnership with Qantas Empire Airways.
The trip took 12 days, covered a distance of 12,754 miles and included stops in Paris, Baghdad, Delhi, Bangkok and Singapore, as well as a train ride from Paris to Brindisi as flights over Italian airspace were not permitted at that time. Passengers also slept in hotels during the overnight stops.
BA said on Tuesday the one-way ticket cost A$376 (£195), or A$23,470 (£12,158) in today’s currency.
The journey got shorter, and cheaper, in the decades that followed given improvements in aircraft technology and today BA is the only European carrier that serves Australia with its own aircraft.
And to help celebrate the eight decades of service to Australia, BA enlisted Watts to recreate a promotional poster from a previous era that the airline used to entice Europeans to make the journey Down Under.
Watts, who was born in the UK and moved to Australia with her family at the age of 14, said she was thrilled to go back in time and help recreate the iconic poster from what was a glamorous era.
“I love the vintage style from the golden age of travel so it was really fun to bring this to life,” Watts said in a statement.
“Eighty years is an incredible landmark for British Airways, and with a personal connection to both countries it’s really special to take part in celebrating the history of travel between Australia and the UK.”
BA executive chairman Keith Williams said the innovative spirit of the airline which helped launch what has become known as the Kangaroo route was still part of the company today.
“As the only European airline to still fly to the country, we are extremely proud to be celebrating 80 years of connecting our two great nations,” Williams said.
“We continued to invest in the latest aircraft and cabins so that customers in Australia can travel in comfort and enjoy the British service we’re renowned for – just as they did 80 years ago.
The oneworld alliance member serves Australia daily with a four-class Boeing 777-300ER flying from London to Sydney via Singapore.