bmi regional to cut five routes

bmi regional, which claims to be the UK’s most punctual airline, has decided to terminate five routes from Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester airports after a review of its operations.

Flights from Manchester to Edinburgh and Antwerp, from Edinburgh to Copenhagen and Brussels, and from Birmingham to Billund, Denmark, will no longer operate. The Manchester – Edinburgh, and Manchester – Antwerp services will cease on November 29, Birmingham – Billund ends on December 31, and Edinburgh – Copenhagen and Edinburgh- Brussels will finish on January 6, 2014.

Cathal O’Connell, CEO at bmi regional, said: ‘We would like to reassure all our customers booked to fly with us over the next few months on the four routes that are that we will be in touch with them to agree a refund or alternative where available’.

The former subsidiary of British Midland International, which has operated as an independent airline since October 2012, will keep Aberdeen and Bristol as its main bases.

O’Connell said: ‘Over the last year, we have rebuilt our infrastructure and systems as an independent airline, and reshaped our operating network. We have built Bristol into a major new base, targeted the growing oil and gas business through our increased Aberdeen network and launched new domestic services in Norway. Our non-scheduled charter business has had a huge increase in ad hoc work and flying for other carriers (‘wet lease’), for instance, with Flyglinjen in Sweden.’

The restructuring will enable aircraft to be released for the recently announced Newcastle-Brussels service and to strengthen the company’s charter business. The new Brussels service is just part of five new routes launched in the last eight weeks: Aberdeen-Oslo, Aberdeen-Kristiansund, and Stavanger to Harstad and Tromso.

‘The performance of the new routes has met expectations, whilst parts of the legacy bmi regional network are challenged due to the loss of feed traffic and competitive factors’, said O’Connell. ‘As a result, we are going to rebalance the network to concentrate on our new routes, increase our presence internationally to take advantage of the oil and gas industry, and significantly enhance our charter offering’.

bmi regional has started discussions with staff and union representatives with a view to minimising job losses where possible. ‘We have started consultations with our employees in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester, which will include redeployment, with the opportunity to move to one of our other crew bases. We expect no net job losses as a result of the move,’ O’Connell said.