BMI has confirmed it will suspend daily flights between Glasgow and London Heathrow Airport later this year.
The airline – a subsidiary of German flag-carrier Lufthansa – said flights would cease in March having become “unsustainable”.
As a result of the decision British Airways will become the only carrier offering direct flights between Glasgow and London Heathrow.
BMI warned some of the 138 staff presently employed at Glasgow Airport may now be in danger of redundancy. However, a “large number” would be offered redeployment options.
The low-cost carrier accused BAA of “unreasonably discriminating against domestic passengers” at Heathrow, stating a planned increase in charges made the route unsustainable.
In a statement, the airline explained: “From April 1st 2011, the domestic passenger charge will increase from £13 to £20 per passenger, as part of a changed charging structure at London Heathrow.
“Additionally, from April 1st 2011 an annual regulator-approved increase will also be implemented, bringing the total charge to £22 per departing domestic passenger.
“The increase in charges will make the already loss-making route from London Heathrow to Glasgow unsustainable.”
The route will be suspended at the end of March.
BAA Defends Position
BMI has stated domestic passengers are now subject to the same charges as those on a short-haul flight to Europe, even though domestic passengers do not use the same facilities as international passengers, such as customs and immigration channels
“In light of this, BMI has launched a complaint under section 41 of the Airports Act 1986 and has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to investigate BAA as it believes the airport operator is unreasonably discriminating against domestic passengers and domestic operators from London Heathrow,” continued the BMI statement.
The claim was rejected by airport operator BAA.
“BMI’s decision to reduce services from Glasgow to Heathrow has little to do with airport charges.
“BMI has taken a commercial decision to transfer slots from a loss-making domestic service to more profitable long-haul routes, in line with public statements about reducing domestic services made before our new charging structure was announced.”