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Passengers worth less than their weight in CDs?

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Here's a turn-up for the books. British Airways is turfing out cheap seat passengers to carve out more cargo space for goods ordered online. Passengers really are worth less than their weight in CDs. So guys, save a few pennies when you buy CDs, books and software from US sites, and lose a few hundred quid next time you want to fly across the Atlantic. British Airways will target companies such as Amazon, the Financial Mail on Sunday says. It's daft, isn't it? Here's BA thinking it can win business from a company that ships "large numbers of books across the Atlantic". And there’s Amazon.co.uk building a one million sqft warehouse in Slough. Granted, there are some incentives to buy from Amazon (dot.com, as opposed to .co.uk). Buy from a Web site, Stateside (more or less anything except books), which are exempt of tax in the UK), and you have to stump up 4 per cent import duty and VAT, set at a disgraceful 17.5 per cent. But get your CDs from Amazon.com and you may be able to get away with a little piece of tax evasion. HM Customs still appears to think that Amazon is a bookseller only. It'll catch up soon enough, but in the mean time... And what of British Airways? Scratch the surface of the Financial Mail on Sunday story and there ain't much elese. The article combines two publicly known facts, with a quote from a BA exec and proceeds to spin madly. First fact: BA is overhauling its fleet, replacing dozens of 747s with smaller 777s. These will carry the same number of first class, business class and full-fare passengers of their older and bigger sisters. However, there won’t be much room for budget fare passengers. But there will be an annual increase of (whisper it, gently) two whole per cent in cargo capacity. Second fact: BA has spent £250 million on a new cargo hub at Heathrow Airport. Here comes quote: "We want to be an important player in the supply chain for delivering time-sensitive goods" -- Kevin Hatton, MD, BA World Cargo. And there you have it, an entertaining Internet confection. ®

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