Laker plans return to transatlantic cut-price flights

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The Independent Online
TEN YEARS after the death of his cheap-fare transatlantic Skytrain service, Sir Freddie Laker yesterday said that Laker Airways planned to fly between Britain and the United States from the end of next year.

Sir Freddie, 70, said in London that as a Bahamian citizen running a Bahamian company he expected to have no trouble in getting the necessary licences to operate.

When Laker Airways Skytrain collapsed in February 1982, it seemed that the buccaneering career of Britain's most famous airline entrepreneur was over. He said at the time that his company had been forced out of business by unfair competition.

Sir Freddie's claims were supported in a court case brought by the liquidators of Laker Airways against British Airways and a group of other airlines alleging that they had conspired unfairly to force Laker out of business. The case was settled out of court with the airline's founder receiving a personal settlement of nearly pounds 6m.

He worked in Miami and the Bahamas as a consultant for 'Tiny' Rowland's Princess hotel and casino group. He returned to the airline business earlier this year when he set up Laker Airways (Bahamas) Ltd to operate a charter contract for Princess using two Boeing 727 aircraft to fly customers from several US airports to the Bahamas.

Yesterday Sir Freddie disclosed that he has applied to the American Department of Transportation for authority to operate these charter services as scheduled flights.

When Laker replaces the Boeing 727s next year he is planning to acquire 'two or three' aircraft which will have the range to operate non-stop from the United States to Europe. He is planning to run services from US airports such as Orlando to London and Frankfurt via the Bahamas.

Sir Freddie said that fares for the services would be competitive. 'My fares have always been cost- related,' he said. His two-night packages to the Bahamas from Orlando, including return air travel, cost pounds 88.

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