British Airways (BA) is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom and its largest airline based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations. When measured by passengers carried it is second-largest, behind easyJet. The airline is based in Waterside near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. A British Airways Board was established by the United Kingdom government in 1972 to manage the two nationalised airline corporations, British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways, and two smaller, regional airlines, Cambrian Airways, from Cardiff, and Northeast Airlines, from Newcastle upon Tyne. On 31 March 1974, all four companies were merged to form British Airways. After almost 13 years as a state company, British Airways was privatised in February 1987 as part of a wider privatisation plan by the Conservative government.