BA Ends Franchise Agreements

British Airways on Thursday said it would end its franchise agreement with GB Airways next March and begin flights on some routes previously operated by GB Airways. The carrier also is moving from a franchise to a code share agreement with Scottish carrier Loganair, effective next October. On March 30, 2008, British Airways plans to initiate services from London's Heathrow airport to Faro, Portugal and Málaga, Spain; as well as to Faro; the territory of Gibraltar; Ibiza, Málaga and Palma in Spain; and Tunis, North Africa from Gatwick.

"UK franchises have outlived their purpose," said BA CEO Willie Walsh. "EasyJet has made an offer to buy GB Airways and this has enabled us to end the franchise agreement early. We had an option to buy GB Airways but we rejected it."

The carrier noted that there will be a transition period until the end of the franchise agreements and that all involved airlines-BA, GB Airways, EasyJet and Loganair-would work to ensure the transition is a smooth one for passengers. The deal between GB Airways and EasyJet is expected to be complete within eight weeks. During that time, flights will operate as normal and once completed, passengers can rebook on EasyJet or receive a full refund. Visit [www.britishairways.com]. (JM)

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