bmi, the UK’s second largest full-service scheduled airline, today confirmed its plans to launch services from Heathrow to Mumbai and from Heathrow to Bangalore, following the recent agreement between the UK and Indian governments to allow extra flights between the two countries.
bmi has formally confirmed its plans to the UK Department for Transport, which is now expected to require the Civil Aviation Authority to hold a hearing to allocate the 21 extra flights per week granted to British airlines.
Sir Michael Bishop, chairman of bmi, said:
“We have long campaigned for greater access to long-haul markets for bmi’s award-winning services. bmi has actively sought to bring about changes to the bilateral agreements in existence between the UK and India. We are now able to demonstrate our commitment to serving this important market.
“Our short-haul network at London Heathrow means we can offer onward connections throughout the UK and Europe, bringing the benefits of these connections with India to even more customers.
“Our attempts to introduce greater customer choice to other long haul services from Heathrow, such as to the USA, continue to be frustrated through restrictive bilateral agreements. The opportunity for an increase to the number of services in the UK to India market should provide bmi with the opportunity to meet that demand.
“We are ready, willing and able to provide these extra services and with it vigorous new competition - and we would expect to receive a fair disposition of all the available frequencies.”
bmi plans a daily service between Heathrow and Mumbai and a six-times-weekly service between Heathrow and Bangalore.
The airline plans to launch services in March 2005.
bmi’s long-haul network currently includes services from Manchester to Chicago, Washington and Toronto. Later this month, it is launching services from Manchester to Las Vegas, as well as services to Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia in November and December of this year.