Statement Re. British Midland Application For East Midlands To Prague Licence

Any European Economic Area (EEA) airline is permitted to operate from East Midlands Airport to any other airport within the EEA. bmi british midland is in no way seeking to inhibit the ability of GO, or any other UK airline, to introduce competitive services.

However, all air services outside the EEA are still controlled by agreements between the respective governments, such as the UK and the Czech Republic - these are known as air service agreements.

bmi’s own experience of air services between the UK and Czech Republic has demonstrated that the agreement remains highly restrictive. For example from 29 October 1995 to 1 May 2000, bmi operated from London Heathrow to Prague with up to nine flights per week. Our continued applications to increase this to a more competitive two flights per day were continually rejected by the Czech government. This inability to develop the route forced bmi to withdraw its services, as it could not compete effectively at Heathrow against the national carriers (Czech Airlines and British Airways) who enjoyed greater frequencies.

Contrary to GO’s accusation, bmi has already itself applied for a route license to launch services between East Midlands Airport and Prague. The reason for our objection to the application by GO, and indeed any other similar application, is to seek clarification from the UK Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) regarding the availability of future capacity on all routes between the UK and the Czech Republic including services from East Midlands Airport to Prague.

GO, as an established UK airline, is well aware that such actions are a routine aspect of the CAA licensing procedures. Indeed in 1999 GO itself objected to bmi’s application to introduce services from Stansted to Prague in competition with GO.