bmi will begin daily flights from Heathrow to Cairo, Beirut, Amman, as well as 14 other new destinatons throughout Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
This follows the acquisition of BMED, a British Airways franchise in February for £30million.
From October 28, 2007 will now be the sole British carrier operating flights between Jordan and the UK. Baku, Tehran, Beirut, Amman, Almaty and Yerevan will also be serviced.
The new routes will operate from Heathrow’s Terminal 1 with an improved timetable for business travellers and with a new enhanced in-flight product.
The airline currently operates around 170 flights a day to and from its main Heathrow hub. bmi is also a member of Star Alliance, the world’s biggest airline alliance, providing passengers with global connections and a smooth travel experience.
British Midland plc, the UK-based group holding company of bmi, has subscribed to approximately £30 million of new shares in BMED. BMED, which was established as a limited company in 1994 and operated as an independent franchise partner of British Airways from 1997, currently has a fleet of three Airbus A320 and five Airbus A321 aircraft.
Speaking about the takeover, chief executive officer of the bmi group Nigel Turner said: ‘Bringing BMED into the bmi group creates a business with a turnover in excess of £1 billion with substantial growth opportunities. The acquisition enables the bmi group to accelerate its strategy of expansion into medium-haul markets because BMED operates to 17 destinations in 16 countries and has no overlap with any current bmi route. BMED has a first class workforce and we welcome them into the bmi group.’
bmi country sales manager Saad Jaber sees the new arrangement as highly positive for local and regional operations: ‘This marks a major development in air travel in Jordan. We are very proud to be working with bmi which has an exceptional reputation throughout the industry and we anticipate many positive developments in the future, both in the short and long term.’
Synergies between bmi and BMED include BMED’s Heathrow base and the fact that it operates IAE engined Airbus A320 and 321 aircraft in a two class configuration. Tickets for travel on the extended bmi network will go on sale from September 4th 2007, where bmi will conduct a regular daily flights between Jordan & UK.
Largest-ever expansion of bmi route network as 17 new routes go on sale.
17 new bmi destinations from Heathrow now on sale
New daily direct services to Cairo, Amman and Beirut
Launches new mid-haul and long-haul product enhancements
New lie-flat beds on Riyadh, Jeddah, US and Caribbean routes
Major improvements to long-haul premium economy product
Announces plans for further expansion of mid-haul network
London, 4 September 2007: bmi, Heathrow’s second-largest carrier, today announced the largest-ever expansion of its route network, with the opening of sales to 17 new destinations, including Baku, Tehran, Beirut, Amman, Almaty and Yerevan. The new routes, starting 28 October 2007, will operate from Heathrow’s Terminal 1 with an improved timetable for business travellers and with a new enhanced in-flight product.
The move marks the completion of the integration of BA destinations that were operated by BMED under a franchise agreement. BMED was purchased by bmi in February 2007.
Coinciding with the launch of the new routes, the airline is to introduce major enhancements to its in-flight product. This includes improved food and drinks service on all its mid-haul and long-haul routes, new amenity kits and kids’ packs, and in-flight entertainment offering up to 22 films, including the latest blockbuster movies. Up to nine TV channels will show programming exclusive to bmi.
From mid-September, bmi will be introducing new lie-flat beds on services from Heathrow to Riyadh and to Jeddah, as well as to the Caribbean and to the United States from Manchester.
At the same time the airline will launch a much-enhanced premium economy product on services to the USA and to the Caribbean, providing travellers with a genuine business class seat in a premium economy cabin, which, with a generous 49 inch seat pitch, is 11 inches greater than that offered by competitors.
bmi also announced plans for further expansion of its mid-haul route network from next year, as the first of its additional aircraft are delivered. The deliveries are part of a US$ 750 million aircraft acquisition programme announced earlier this year.
Nigel Turner, chief executive of bmi group, said:
“These new routes represent the single largest expansion of the bmi brand in the history of the airline, and mark our continuing transition into a truly global airline.
“Ten years ago, we had a network that was 100 per cent short haul domestic and European. From the end of October, more than half of our destinations from Heathrow will be in the mid-haul and long-haul markets.
“We will serve 36 destinations from Heathrow this winter, with an in-flight product that provides the highest level of service to business and leisure travellers alike. It is a network that will particularly enhance transfer traffic as all 36 destinations will be served from Terminal 1.
“We have also identified a number of key destinations which we are eager to serve from Heathrow, including Kiev, Minsk, Kuwait City, Lahore, Tel Aviv, Dammam and Sana’a as well as increasing flights from Heathrow to Moscow. We will be seeking a number of such opportunities over the coming months.”
The full list of new routes being launched on 28 October includes Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Aleppo, Syria; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Amman, Jordan; Ankara, Turkey; Baku, Azerbaijan; Beirut, Lebanon; Bishkek, Kyrgystan; Cairo, Egypt (4 November); Dakar, Senegal; Damascus, Syria; Ekaterinburg, Russia; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Khartoum, Sudan; Tbilisi, Georgia; Tehran, Iran; Yerevan, Armenia. Services to Amman and Beirut will be served by daily direct flights, an increase over the previous BA schedule.
Peter Spencer, the new managing director of bmi’s mainline operations, added:
“This is an exciting day in the history of bmi, as we develop our brand as a mid-haul and long-haul airline. It is the culmination of many months of hard work by our integration teams. This is just the start of our strategy to develop a comprehensive network of mid-haul services from London Heathrow and provide product enhancements to both mid-haul and long-haul travellers.
“We will continue to focus on maintaining our superior punctuality record at Heathrow where Civil Aviation Authority figures clearly show we outperform all other British airlines at the airport.”
Frequent flyers on these bmi services will be able to benefit from bmi diamond club which is officially the UK’s most generous frequent flyer programme.