- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 6, 2003

ANNAPOLIS — Hankering for a vacation in England but can’t afford it?

The Maryland Lottery and British Airways have just the answer for 100 lucky winners.

The Board of Public Works has given the lottery agency authority to initiate a Big Ben Bucks scratch-off game in cooperation with Baltimore-Washington International Airport and British Airways.

One hundred winners will receive two first-class tickets from BWI to London plus $8,778 to pay the tax on the tickets and for spending money in Europe. The target date for the lottery is mid-January.

Trent Kittleman, deputy transportation secretary, said the game will be good for the airport, the lottery agency and British Airways, a prime international carrier for BWI. The idea grew out of a meeting Mr. Kittleman had with British Airways executives on ways the state could help the airline boost its business.

Buddy Roogow, executive director of the lottery agency, said British Airways is doing very well with economy-class ticket sales on its daily flight between BWI and London’s Heathrow Airport. But he said it would like to boost sales of tickets for premium-priced tickets, a major source of revenue for airlines.

Mick Archer, British Airways account manager for BWI, said the airline is doing OK overall with its London-Baltimore flights, but hopes to get a boost from the lottery tie-in.

“It’s good publicity for British Airways. It gets some people in our premium, first-class seats,” he said.

The Big Ben Bucks also will offer cash prizes separate from the vacation prizes ranging as high as $30,000.

Mr. Roogow said the agency will award 100 of the $20,000 vacation packages, which he said is an unusually high number of major prize winners.

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