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Eurostar's air-rail ticket plan

Eurostar, which runs passenger services through the Channel Tunnel, is talking to British Midland and other airlines about offering joint air-rail ticketing between London and Paris and Brussels.

Sir Michael Bishop, chairman of British Midland, said he had been in talks with European Passenger Services, the British arm of Eurostar, since last August. He has forecast airlines will face intense competition from Eurostar for business travellers.

Tim Walden, British Midland's industry affairs manager, said yesterday: "We are looking at a link service, with the hope of bringing something in some time in the summer."

The aim would be to offer businessmen flexible packages enabling them to travel by rail or air in each direction.

British Airways is also thought to have been approached by the project, and Eurostar's other European partners are talking to airlines in France.