Now you can fly on Sir Chris Hoy

Briton launches British Airways' talent search

British Airways has named one of its aircraft after Sir Chris Hoy, as apart of the British carrier's efforts to find the next generation of Great Britons. The announcement is part of the airline's promotions ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, of which it is a tier one sponsor.

"I am proud and honoured to have an aircraft flying the Union flag named after me," said Hoy. "British Airways helped me achieve my personal dreams and I hope this programme can do the same for the UK's fledgling talent today."

The Edinburgh rider won three gold medals at last year's Beijing Olympics. The medal haul, which took his gold total to four, saw Hoy become Scotland's most successful Olympian, the first Briton in 100 years to secure a hat-trick of gold medals in a single Olympic Games, and the most successful Olympic male cyclist of all time.

British Airways Great Britons programme has launched a £500,000 fund offering up to 180 free flights a year until 2012. It is open to anyone aged over 16 years old who need support to develop their talent in any field.

Nearly 1,500 athletes from 28 Olympic and 20 Paralympic sports will also benefit from the partnership, which offers up to 20 percent off flights for them and their families, as well as support with baggage and equipment.

While judges of the 180 free flights per year include Denise Lewis, film director Jeremy Gilley and British Airways representatives, the final vote will go to the public. Applications can be made at www.greatbritons.ba.com.

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