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British Airways to Give Away 50,000 Free Tickets

March 21, 1991

LONDON (AP) _ British Airways said today it is planning a ticket giveaway that will enable thousands of travelers to fly free on April 23 on its international flights.

The promotion is aimed at getting people flying again.

British Airways said it would hold a worldwide drawing for 25,000 tickets for travel from Britain and another 25,000 for overseas travelers flying to Britain.

Randomly selected winners will get two round-trip tickets on any of the airlines’ 400 international flights on ″Fly Free Day,″ according to an airline spokesman. Winners in Britain will write down three destinations they would like and they will get one of three, though they won’t get to pick which one.

Britons and foreigners will be invited to register for the drawing between Friday and March 30. The drawing will be March 31, and winners will be notified and tickets issued during the following week.

Any passengers already booked on flights departing on April 23 will be eligible for a credit voucher that can be used for future travel with British Airways.

The promotion was the latest example of efforts to drum up business by the airlines and hotels, which have been cutting fares and offering discounts.

A group of travel industry companies in the United States launched a $6 million promotional campaign today with newspaper ads that encourage American businessmen to travel.

British Airways Chairman Lord King said his airline ″intends to get the world back on the move again. We are making a major investment in both money and marketing skills to achieve that objective.″

The company declined to disclose the cost of the promotion, with a company spokesman saying only that it was in the multimillions of dollars.

Exaggerated fears of Iraqi-sponsored terrorism coupled with the economic squeeze have led to one of the sharpest downturns in business and leisure travel ever experienced, King said.

British Airways’ business has dropped 30 percent, he said, and although there were indications of some improvement, ″the road to full business recovery will not be easy, nor short.″

British Airways also said it was launching a ″Key to Britain″ campaign to attract visitors to Britain.

Customers who book British Airways holiday trips to Britain this summer will be given keys, some of which will open one of a variety of boxes containing a range of prizes, including a free one-day trip on the airline’s Concorde supersonic jet.

On Wednesday, British Airways announced it was offering discounted tickets for trips between the United States and Europe. The tickets must be purchased by April 8 and are good for travel through Oct. 30.

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