In a keynote speech to the Aviation Club in Brussels today, British Midland chairman, Sir Michael Bishop expressed confidence that the airline`s application to codeshare with United Airlines from Manchester will soon be approved.
Sir Michael said:
“I am confident that in the next week or so, the US DoT will approve our application to codeshare with United Airlines from Manchester which includes points behind and beyond our gateways in both countries.
“If this is granted, and we take advantage of this opportunity, it will allow us and United to start to compete more effectively against the dominance of British Airways in the transatlantic market. And it will open up at least 21 American cities to British Midland customers.”
Sir Michael praised the improvement in aviation relations between the two Governments but stressed that although codesharing was part of the airline`s strategy, the focus remained fixed on starting direct services from Heathrow next Summer.
“Make no mistake, whilst these are important developments, they only form one part of our strategy. Yes we want to start long haul services from the regions, but realistically these should be in tandem with services from our main operational base at Heathrow.
“Our key objective therefore remains be able to start our own transatlantic services next Summer from Heathrow and in the process create many thousands more jobs in the UK. This is the prime focus of our activity at the moment. And I am confident that we will achieve it.”