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British Midland set to take flight as Bluebird

BRITISH MIDLAND, the country's second-biggest scheduled airline, is considering renaming itself Bluebird. The proposed name change is part of a wide-ranging corporate makeover to co-incide with the airline's entry into the Star Alliance and the planned launch of services to the US.

Sir Michael Bishop, the chairman of British Midland, hired the corporate image consultants Landor Associates to come up with a new identity for the airline three months ago.

The airline's current name and slogan - British Midland, the airline for Europe - will be inappropriate when it turns itself into a transatlantic carrier next year. The use of the word "Midland" in the name is also felt to be too parochial.

The consultants short-listed a handful of names and although Bluebird is thought to be the favourite, Ian Wood of Landor Associates insisted that a final choice had not yet been made.

Bluebird would chime with the airline's livery, which is predominantly blue, and has obvious connections with flight.

British Midland's entry into the Star Alliance and the sale of a 20 per cent stake in the airline for pounds 100m-pounds 120m to Lufthansa, one of the leading members of the alliance, is due to be announced next Tuesday.