Laker Airways to fly across the Atlantic once again

February 25, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

Sir Freddie Laker, a British entrepreneur who was among the first to offer no-frills air travel in the 1970s, is about to start flying across the Atlantic again.

Sir Freddie plans to start Laker Airways as a charter service in late March, offering flights from Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to London, Manchester and Glasgow. As his airline grows, he said in a recent interview, he hopes to begin regularly scheduled service.

Sir Freddie currently operates a charter service called Laker Airways Bahamas from nine United States cities to the Bahamas.

To meet United States guidelines for airline ownership by foreign citizens, Sir Freddie will own 49 percent of the new company's stock overall, and 25 percent of its voting stock. The rest of the company will be owned by Oscar S. Wyatt, who is chairman of the Coastal Corp. in Houston, a diversified energy corporation.

Sir Freddie said he intends to offer several amenities on the new Laker Airways, which will have only one class of service. For example, drinks will be free, and each passenger will have an individual in-flight entertainment system with a 6-inch screen on the back of each seat for movies. Food service will be a cut above the norm, he said. Smoking will not be permitted on the airline's three DC-10s.

Sir Freddie said that Laker Airways' fares would be competitive, although they would not necessarily be the lowest available.

Laker Airways has received preliminary approval to start operating by the United States Department of Transportation, and the airline is awaiting final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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