The CAA has confirmed that British Midland has been granted route licences to serve four destinations in the United States from London Heathrow Airport - New York, Washington, Miami and Boston.
The decision to grant the licences means that the four routes to the US East Coast can be operated by British Midland subject to satisfactory changes to the UK/US bilateral negotiations to include British Midland as a designated carrier.
In November 1998, the airline confirmed that it had reserved options to make a choice between two Boeing 767-300 or two Airbus A330-200 to provide the aircraft needed initially to develop its US operations.
In February 1998, the airline applied for route licences to serve up to 10 destinations in the US. Further route licences will be granted once British Midland has successfully launched its initial services to the US.
Sir Michael Bishop, chairman, said:
“The granting of the route licences means that British Midland is now a licensed and designated transatlantic carrier from Heathrow. While there are still regulatory issues to overcome before we can introduce services, we have cleared the first hurdle in developing our planned US operations.
“These operations now remain conditional only upon the UK and US governments agreeing a new bilateral air services agreement permitting British Midland, as an additional carrier, to introduce new price competition onto transatlantic routes from Heathrow especially on premium fares.”