July 2, 2008 / 7:14 AM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-British Airways to buy France's l'Avion

(adds details, changes dateline from London)

PARIS, July 2 (Reuters) - British Airways BAY.L has agreed to buy small French business airline l’Avion for 68 million euros ($107.3 million) and it will become part of its new OpenSkies unit, they said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

OpenSkies started on June 19 a Paris Orly to New York JFK connection with a Boeing 757 while l’Avion operates two Boeing (BA.N) 757 planes between Orly and New York Newark.

L’Avion started in January 2007 and has transported 65,000 passengers. The acquisition price includes l’Avion’s cash reserves of 33 million euros.

Privately-owned l’Avion was originally called Elysair and specialises in business travel. It was one of the last remaining trans-Atlantic all business airlines as the sector was savaged by high fuel prices and cutbacks on business travel.

It was founded by pilot Frantz Yvelin and Marc Rochet, chief executive, who formerly ran Air Liberte. (Reporting by Marcel Michelson; Editing by Paul Bolding)

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