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August 25, 2009

British Airways Gives $10 Million in Tickets To Stimulate Business Travel

By Pardhasaradhi Gonuguntla

SAN DIEGO, CA — British Airways (BA) is offering 100 businesses with under 500 employees 10 roundtrip Club World (Business Class) tickets each for use systemwide in 2010 under a program designed to encourage Business Owners, CEO’s and CFO’s to loosen up the purse strings for business travel.

According to BA Executive Vice President Americas Simon Talling-Smith, the value of the tickets is in excess of $10 million. He told Elite Traveler that “companies were starting to feel they could do business without people meeting in person.”

Using a study by The Harvard Business Review that pointed out 89 percent of executives surveyed said “face-to-face” meetings were essential for “sealing the deal, the airline is now soliciting applications for the grants as part of the program. The idea is to re-enforce to companies that have cut back business travel that they need to again send their troops out into the field.

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In other news, Talling-Smith affirmed the September 28 launch date for its new all business class A318 service between JFK and LCY (London City Airport), the closest airport to London’s financial center. It will be the first Trans-Atlantic service from LCY. At the same time, Talling-Smith said British Airways remains committed to Open Skies, it’s subsidiary currently offering service between Newark,JFK and Paris Orly Airport. “We are going to make it work,” Talling-Smith said.

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