Aircraft: What BEA Really Means

England's troubled airplane-making industry is long since inured to insult, but last week it suffered one of the unkindest blows of all. The country's two biggest airlines, BOAC and BEA, both state-controlled, asked the government for permission to buy Boeing-made U.S. planes.

BOAC wanted to commit $154 million toward the purchase of six Boeing 747s, the jumbo jet (up to 490 passengers) that will go into service in late 1969. The government gave BOAC a go-ahead. Already under fire because its British-made equipment has developed maintenance bugs, BEA asked that it be allowed to buy $224 million worth of Boeing...

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