British Caledonian Airways Ltd. hopes to become...

British Caledonian Airways Ltd. hopes to become the first airline to offer same-airplane service between San Diego and Europe, company officials said Monday.

Service between San Diego and London could begin in early 1988, according to British Caledonian Executive Vice President John Story, who said the airline is seeking regulatory approval from the U.S. and British governments.

British Caledonian hopes to begin service with three flights a week. Flights would originate in San Diego and continue on to London's Gatwick Airport after stopping in Los Angeles.

The London-based airline would consider nonstop service between San Diego and London "if traffic develops," according to Story. Round-trip fares will probably start at $500, he said.

British Caledonian decided to offer service to and from San Diego because of the high growth of the city's business community and because of San Diego's growing importance as a tourist center, company officials said.

Story predicted his company's new flights would help open up San Diego as a tourist destination for European travelers.

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