airline bmi british midland to launch no-frills
bmi british midland announced yesterday that it is to launch of a no-frills airline which will be based at East Midlands Airport.
The name of the new airline will be unveiled next week. It will begin flying a week before the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend on March 23, initially with two dedicated Boeing 737-300 aircraft. It will serve a range of leisure destinations including Barcelona, Nice, Palma, Malaga, Faro and Alicante.
Earlier this week bmi clashed with Go over the low cost carrier’s plans to operate to from East Midlands Airport to Prague, and announced that it has applied for a licence to fly on the route.
Go announced last month that it is to make East Midlands its third UK base. bmi denied yesterday’s announcement was designed to stop Go in its tracks claiming that it was part of a “long-held ambition to launch a no-frills airline in the Midlands.”
Frequencies and further routes are still to be announced, together with full details of the new airline’s internet prices, which will start at £25 each way. There will also be an introductory offer when flights open for sale later this month.
Tickets can be booked on the website at a discount, or via reservations. Travel agents will also be able to make bookings through a dedicated internet facility. Tickets booked using a debit card will not incur additional charges, but credit card bookings will incur a surcharge.
Nigel Turner, bmi’s director responsible for the new airline, said: “bmi is launching this new airline in response to a clear market opportunity and consumer demand. We have been operating from East Midlands Airport for over 35 years and we are delighted to increase our commitment to the Airport and the region through the creation of this new no frills carrier.”
He added: “With the launch of this new airline, bmi will have a strong presence in both the no frills and full service airline sectors.”
In November bmi chief executive Austin Reid said the airline “remains and will continue to remain a full service airline and we have no intention to become a budget carrier. ”
bmi points out tha its latest move is not the beginning of an overall transition to becoming a no-frills carrier, stating that Heathrow is “clearly not suited to a low cost business model” and adding that “bmi is committed to its development of business routes within Europe and the USA, as well as being wholly committed to its membership of Star Alliance.”