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Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Thursday, 16 September 2010 15:51 UK
Entrepreneurial spirit takes off for Bournemouth man

Jack Romero features in the BBC One programme My Story

"Never give up. Keep going and never stop even when the fat lady sings."

That is the attitude which multi-millionaire Jack Romero believes is at the heart of his success in business.

Today, he works as a business consultant after selling off a successful airline business, which he built up himself, for £30m in 2009.

But when he arrived in Britain from Beirut in 1979 aged 17, he had nothing. He says that his story is an example of how hard work and drive can pay off.

He said: "The dream was alive in my mind all the time."

Living rough

Jack Romero
Mr Romero gained his pilot's license in 1974 and set up an airline in 1994

With an interest in aviation, Mr Romero's ambition was to create his own airline.

His arrival in London without knowing anyone meant weeks of living rough.

But after working for a while, and managing to save enough money for pilot lessons - he recalled that a two hour lesson cost him a week's salary - his dream began to take shape.

He said: "Sometimes I was so out of money, I walked home from the airport after the lesson because I couldn't afford the bus fare.

"But I didn't mind because I knew I would get my license and I would get somewhere."

As he explains in the BBC One documentary programme My Story, which follows remarkable real life stories, Mr Romero was finally granted his pilot licence in 1984.

It was another 10 years of hard work before the first flight on his own airline, British Mediterranean Airways, took off to his home city of Beirut on October 29 1994.

When he saw the plane take off, he described the feeling as "amazing":

He said: "I had to control myself to not cry. I was so proud that my dream had become real."

Mr Romero went on to grow the business until eventually deciding to sell to BMI in February 2009.

Mr Romero now lives in Bournemouth and although he is no longer in the aviation business, his interest in the industry remains.

He said: "I think the days of cheap flights are numbered.

"The low cost airlines experience is like a fashion and there comes a time when it reaches a plateau and starts to decline, unless something new is created.

"We will have to change [the business model]."




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