London, January 1, 2000: Some 2,000 British Airways passengers toasted the new millennium at 35,000 ft with the airline reporting problem-free flights for all 15 of its aircraft in the skies as Big Ben struck midnight.
The £100 million the airline allocated to swat the Millennium Bug appears to have been well spent, with no Y2K associated flight problems reported worldwide.
Nonetheless, monitoring teams and computer experts were among the 5,000 employees on duty overnight, to cover any contingencies that might have occurred, including around a hundred in the airline’s worldwide command centre at Heathrow.
Every passenger on board at midnight was presented with a special certificate to mark the occasion and offered a glass of champagne to toast the new millennium, as captains on each flight announced the dawn of the new year.
To help create the right atmosphere, every aircraft had bags of party hats and other goodies on board, and cabin crew ran draws with tickets for rides on the British Airways London Eye millennium wheel and visits to the Millennium Dome as prizes.
The 15 flights in the air at midnight GMT were from Heathrow to Cape Town, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Tokyo and New York, from Gatwick to Harare, Mauritius and Nairobi, to Heathrow from Cape Town, Hong Kong (two flights) and Johannesburg (two flights), and to Gatwick from Barbados and Nairobi.
Bob Ayling, Chief Executive of British Airways, said: “My thanks go to everyone at British Airways who worked on the night and whose dedication and commitment ensured that we were able to offer our passengers the opportunity to fly safely into the new millennium.”