Virgin to link up with Milwaukee airline

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The Independent Online
RICHARD Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airways is to strengthen its position in the United States by linking up with the Milwaukee-based airline Midwest Express.

The marketing agreement between the two will enable Virgin to tap into the Chicago and Milwaukee business travel markets.

From 1 October Virgin will fly from London Gatwick to Milwaukee via Boston where passengers will connect with a Midwest flight. It hopes to attract more US passengers who presently use Chicago's O'Hare airport.

Mr Branson hinted yesterday that the tie-up with Midwest was likely to be the first of several with regional US carriers. 'Rather than spending large sums of money buying a minority stake in one US carrier we wish to work with many like-minded carriers with arrangements such as this,' he said.

Launched in 1984, Midwest is a subsidiary of the Kimberley-Clark Corporation and operates to 18 cities from its Milwaukee hub with a fleet of 14 McDonnell Douglas DC9 and MD88 aircraft. It carried 770,000 passengers last year generating income of dollars 125.3m (pounds 64m).

Return fares to Milwaukee will be pounds 2,594 in Virgin Upper Class, pounds 788 in Mid Class and pounds 424 for a mid-week, 14-day economy ticket.

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