Bmi is axeing five routes and cutting 600 jobs as a result of “unprecedented market conditions”.
The UK’s second-largest carrier is dropping its flights to Tel Aviv, Kiev, Aleppo, Amsterdam and Brussels in phases from January 9.
The airline will concentrate instead on routes serving oil, energy and emerging markets.
bmi has indicated that 600 jobs will go as part of the restructuring and has begun consultation with unions and staff on the redundancies.
The airline and warned however that ‘further job cuts cannot be ruled out’.
It plans to focus on business class customers and those visiting friends and relatives.
The move has been forced by new owner Lufthansa in an attempt to get the struggling carrier back into profitability.
The airline has pledged to maintain its current UK and Ireland network providing frequency for business travellers and feeder connections for its own network and that of Star Alliance.
Dominic Paul, bmi’s managing director, said:
“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience the route suspensions cause our customers and travel agents and would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported us on these routes for their loyalty and business.
“Agents holding bmi bookings on affected routes need to ticket by 1 December to be eligible for reprotection.
“Agents will be contacted from 2 December with re-protection options”
The route suspensions are as follows:
• London Heathrow-Tel Aviv. Last flight ex Heathrow 9 January 2010, last flight ex Tel Aviv 10 January 2010.
• London Heathrow-Kiev. Last flights 10 January 2010.
• London Heathrow-Aleppo. Last flight ex Heathrow 9 January 2010, last flight ex Aleppo 10 January 2010.
• London Heathrow-Amsterdam. Last flights 27 March 2010
• London Heathrow-Brussels. Last flights 9 January 2010.
Separately, from April 2010 bmi will end its lease agreement on two Airbus 330 aircraft which will mean that its London Heathrow to Cairo route will be operated using an Airbus 321.