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Dubya's War

Baghdad airport captured, tourists expected in weeks
It is just hours after US troops gained full control of Saddam International Airport (now renamed Baghdad International Airport) and already the race is on to find the first budget airline to fly there. Established names easyJet and Ryanair are said to be keen to gain a foothold in the potentially lucrative Iraq market.

"Once the restrictions barring us from flying to Iraq have been removed, I expect that we could have a full service up and running within months," said easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou. "There are likely to be many Iraqis wanting to travel to a liberated country in the process of being rebuilt or away from a desolate, bomb-splattered wasteland as asylum seekers. Either way, the demand for low-cost air travel will be huge and we intend to exploit that as much as we can."

A spokesman for British Airways said that it too intends to run a service to Baghdad to provide for businesspeople involved in the oil and construction industries, while holiday operator MyTravel has begun negotiations for the building of a holiday complex near Basra.

Meanwhile, American tourists are already massing on Iraq's borders ready to launch a "second invasion". "We're going to go in just as soon as we can," said holidaymaker Doug Ramsbottom, originally from Texas. "This time next week we could be sitting in Baghdad McDonalds eating a Big Mac. That's what we're fighting this war for."

Reports of specially-trained hybrid Japanese paratrooper tourists parachuting into Baghdad overnight with cameras, camcorders and mobile phones have meanwhile been denied by Iraqi the authorities.

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