British Airways has flown Britain’s most celebrated charter – the Magna Carta – across the Atlantic today (Monday, September 21).
To celebrate 800 years since the famous document was sealed, Hereford Cathedral and the GREAT Britain Campaign are taking one of only 24 original versions on an anniversary world tour. The tour is an opportunity for thousands of people to see a globally recognised symbol of democracy. It will also showcase Britain’s influence internationally for trade and legal systems.
The tour will see the 1217 version of the document – which travelled in the airline’s First class cabin with a dedicated security guard – visit seven countries, rack up 65,000 miles and travel through 25 time zones over the next four months.
Its first stop will be New York – where it will be exhibited in one of the city’s most prestigious museums – before it heads to Luxembourg, China, including Hong Kong, Singapore, returning to Malta and finally Lisbon.
British Airways Captain Iain Aird, who flew the special document from London Heathrow to New York’s JFK airport, said: “VIPs regularly travel across the pond with us, but with a price tag of £24 million the Magna Carta and the King’s Writ are definitely one of the most precious pieces of cargo we’ve ever had the honour of carrying. The news that we had such an important piece of history on board certainly created a buzz in our First cabin!”
Canon Chris Pullin, Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral, who was also on the flight, said: “I am delighted that our copy of Magna Carta is embarking on this global tour, which will enable more people than ever from across the world a unique and exciting opportunity to see the document close up and learn about what it represents. I hope that as many people as possible take the opportunity to visit Magna Carta and enjoy a rare glimpse of one of the most famous documents in history that has shaped our modern democracy.”
Through its joint business with American Airlines, British Airways operates 14 flights a day from London to New York.
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