Sir Freddie Laker's smile says it all: We're back in business

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The Independent Online
There may be more grey hairs, but 14 years after the collapse of his original Sky Train, Sir Freddie Laker's smile says it all: We're back in business.

Nothing could take the shine off the launch of his new transatlantic air service yesterday. Not even having to rent an aircraft for the occasion, after his own failed to arrive on time. A cockpit windscreen cracked - possibly from a bird strike - during a test flight of his own aircraft, delaying its entry into service.

The first route, Manchester to Orlando, started yesterday and Sir Freddie (above) was on hand with desk staffer Susan Turner to welcome passengers on board. Departures from London Gatwick are scheduled to start today.

The new Laker Airways service is aimed at the booming Florida family holidays market, with fares pitched at a highly competitive pounds 299 round- trip. The original Laker Sky Train foundered in 1982 in the face of fierce competition and cut-throat fares.