Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, May 10, 2012
From May 23 all Bmi flights from Heathrow to Bergen, Nice, Vienna, Stavanger, Hanover, Agadir, Marrakesh and Casablanca will be given a BA code and flight number – all flight schedules will remain the same, and customers can now book through BA’s website.
A further announcement regarding the integration of Bmi’s other services is expected in the coming days. BA told Telegraph Travel that Bmi’s summer schedule would remain “as published”, but said some “tweaking” to routes could occur later in the year, to allow for expansion into emerging markets. It added that all frequent fliers with Bmi would have their air miles transferred to BA’s equivalent programme.
Last week IAG announced that Bmibaby, Bmi’s no-frills sister airline, is to close. From June 11 it will no longer operate any services from Belfast City Airport (to Alicante, Amsterdam, Birmingham, East Midlands, Faro, Ibiza, Mahon, Malaga, Palma and Stansted), and will cancel some services from Birmingham (to Amsterdam, Belfast and Knock) and East Midlands (to Amsterdam, Belfast, Edinburgh, Geneva, Glasgow, Newquay, Nice and Paris).
All remaining Bmibaby routes ( from Birmingham and East Midlands) will be scrapped on September 9.
Affected passengers will be given a refund, but Bmibaby is not obliged to provide alternative transport, and has said passengers will not be transferred on to flights with Bmi or British Airways. Thousands of travellers who have not booked their flight as part of a protected package will be expected to find their own alternatives, whatever the cost.
At least two airlines have announced “rescue fares” for anyone booked with Bmibaby.
From June 11 until October 27, Ryanair is offering to fly affected passengers from Dublin to Alicante, Birmingham, Faro, Ibiza, Malaga and Palma, or from Londonderry to Alicante, Birmingham and Faro, for £29.99 one-way. WizzAir is selling seats on its Luton to Prague service, for travel between September 9 and October 27, from £29.99 one-way.
A number of airlines have stepped in to replace the affected routes on a long-term basis.
Monarch has announced plans to launch a new base at East Midlands at the end of the summer – operating flights to Malaga, Alicante, Palma and Faro – and will expand its services from Birmingham, including the introduction one new route to Barcelona.
Jet2.com will launch eight new routes from East Midlands over the next 12 months, flying to Geneva and Chambery over the winter, and to Dubrovnik, Nice, Ibiza, Menorca, Larnaca and Gran Canaria next summer.
Officials at Belfast City Airport have said they are hopeful another airline will step in to replace Bmibaby, and an announcement is expected soon. Around 420,000 passengers flew from the airport with the no-frills airline last year.