BRITISH MIDLAND has invested some £15 million ($25 million) on a re-launch of its image as a European business airline, with a new corporate livery and a package of service upgrades which includes the introduction of business class for the first time on its UK routes.

The measures are aimed at underlining the airline's growing presence in Europe and shaking off its image as essentially an UK domestic carrier. Since starting its first services to Amsterdam ten years ago, the airline has gradually built up to 1,400 flights a week to 15 European cities.

Besides the outlay of around £15 million on a slight change to the livery and new crew uniforms, there are improvements to lounges and in-flight catering, and business passengers will also be able to use self-service machines at airports for ticket purchase and check-in.

Chairman Sir Michael Bishop, says that the launch indicates the airline's intention of expanding as an independent player in Europe although he says that growth will be "slow and incremental" from its base at London Heathrow.

Source: Flight International