LISA Leeson, the wife of the ex-Barings trader whose dealings helped to bring down the bank, has applied to work as a stewardess with Virgin Atlantic Airways on new services to Asia. The job, which comes with free or discounted travel perquisites after six months' service with the airline, will allow her to visit husband Nick, serving a 61/2 years' jail term in Singapore, more often. The Financial Times quoted Virgin group chief Richard Branson as saying: 'Hopefully, she'll be on board soon.' She is now a waitress in Britain. The newspaper said Mrs Leeson was introduced to the Virgin boss by a journalist who wrote 28-year-old husband Nick's version of how his illegal trades led to last year's collapse of Barings. The former chief trader of the bank's futures arm was jailed on December 2 after pleading guilty to violating Singapore law while hiding losses that crushed the bank. According to recent reports, Leeson has been accepted by the London School of Economics for a three-year correspondence course in law. A spokesman for Virgin could not confirm the Lisa Leeson report yesterday, but the airline will be hiring soon for expanded operations in the Asia-Pacific. Virgin's board approved a business plan last year to buy or lease US$5 billion worth of new aircraft in the next three years as it steps up its fight against British Airways. New routes to Osaka, Seoul and Shanghai were under serious consideration and though Singapore was not on the list, most airlines have arrangements with other carriers that allow for discounted travel. Mrs Leeson, if hired, would be able to take advantage of the perquisites after her probation period. Virgin flies to Hong Kong and Tokyo as its key hubs in the Asia-Pacific. It also flies to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Orlando, Dublin and Athens. It plans to expand its fleet of 15 aircraft to 40 within three years, adding 18 new routes.