BMI to implement sweeping route cuts

BMI is to cut dozens of services from Heathrow in a bid to stem soaring costs. The airline, which is the second largest operator at Heathrow, is scrapping part of its UK domestic network, as well as services to continental Europe.
Lufthansa, which is due to complete its takeover of a majority 80 per cent stake in BMI, is thought to be stepping up the pressure for the cuts as both leisure and business traffic take a hit.It is expected to make the announcement today according to press speculation. Services from Heathrow to Leeds Bradford and Durham Tees Valley are expected to go - a total of seven daily departures. Capacity cuts are also being made to Aberdeen service by using small aircraft. The reductions come in addition to the previously-announced closure of the twice-daily service between Heathrow and Jersey.

Cuts to its European services are also expected. Its Amsterdam service is being pared from seven to four, while Dublin will drop from seven to six.

BMI is removing about four aircraft or 12 per cent of its mainline short-haul fleet of 32 Airbus A320 family jets, which are to be used in charter rather than scheduled service.

The airline suffered its biggest loss in history in 2008 and 5,000 staff are expected to be told of worsening trading conditions blamed on dwindling business and leisure traffic.

Its widening losses sparked chief executive Nigel Turner to implement a pay freeze at short notice. The increase had already been paid by some banks into pilots’ accounts only to be withdrawn hours later, sparking fury by the British Airline Pilots Association and a call of a no-confidence ballot by pilots in Nigel Turner.

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Mr Turner has previously disclosed the airline suffered the biggest loss in its history in 2008. He is expected to tell the 5,000 staff trading conditions have deteriorated further in recent weeks.

Lufthansa, which is due to complete its takeover of a majority 80 per cent stake in BMI, is thought to be stepping up the pressure for the cuts as both leisure and business traffic gets hit.
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