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'Baby Branson' to Launch New Airline

February 8, 2010 By: Kirk Cassels

The Times is reporting that the airline entrepreneur nicknamed “Baby Branson” is back in business four years after the collapse of his maiden enterprise. Martin Halstead’s Varsity Express is expected to start flights from Oxford to Edinburgh next month.

Halstead shot to fame in 2005 when, at 19, he started Alpha One Airways, earning comparisons to Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson. The company, however, folded six weeks after it started.

Now aged 23, and having held various roles in the industry, including working as a flight attendant on Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, Halstead is trying again. He said he was confident his second venture will prove more successful than his first.

He would not disclose the identity of Varsity’s backers but they are understood to be a group of British businessmen with property interests in the Canary Islands. Halstead has an arrangement with them that could eventually give him a half-share in the company.

The Oxford to Edinburgh flights—in an 18-seat Jetstream—will run only on weekdays. Halstead is reportedly already looking at adding another route.

Photo courtesy of the Telegraph.

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