bmi has added five new USA destinations to its growing codeshare route network from London Heathrow under its existing codesharing agreement with Star Alliance partner United Airlines. Under the agreement bmi can sell direct flights from London Heathrow to the main US gateways of Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington San Francisco and Denver, with a bmi marketing codeshare flight number on flights operated by United Airlines.
This agreement is possible following the signing of an open skies agreement between the European Union and the USA earlier this year which comes into effect from the beginning of the summer traffic season next year. This historic deal has paved the way for unrestricted codesharing opportunities which had not been previously available to bmi and United.
Codeshare flights will commence on 30 March 2008 and, following recent approval from the US authorities, are now on sale. At a later date, bmi plans to expand the codeshare arrangement to include a range of domestic US destinations beyond the gateway cities to offer even more travel options to customers on United-operated flights.
Nigel Turner, bmi chief exective officer, said: “Whilst delaying the introduction of our own services from Heathrow to the USA, we said that we would still take full advantage of an open skies agreement between the EU and the USA. This codeshare agreement with United Airlines allows us to do just that. It will ensure that we can now offer our own flight code on services to these key US destinations thus widening the choice for our customers and enhancing competition.”
“We are pleased to expand our relationship with bmi,” said Michael Whitaker, United Airlines senior vice president - Alliances, International and Regulatory Affairs. “We have long supported the Open Skies agreement, and this expanded partnership with bmi demonstrates how liberalisation of the Atlantic skies will benefit customers.”