bmi’s Death Knell Begins: BA Acquires Six Slot Pairs at LHRBack to Forum
Anonymous23 Sep 2011
LONDON HEATHROW SLOT PURCHASE
IAG has approved the acquisition by British Airways of six daily slot pairs at London Heathrow from bmi British Midland International.
The slots will be used by British Airways from late October 2011 with the airline looking to expand both its longhaul and shorthaul network at the airport.
Terrific news for BA, sad to see bmi being broken up in this way.23 Sep 2011
No need for BA/IAG to buy bmi if they can secure slots over time and prevent other carriers securing slots which BA would presumably have to ofer to others as the price of buying bmi in one go. Not sure BA would use on short haul expansion.23 Sep 2011
Might be useful for increased MAD services, given the Iberian onward network.
More likely increased frequency for destinations already served, and maybe another destination in China.23 Sep 2011
No need to increase MAD services as they have 13 per day already. Better to reduce to 8 or 9 and use widebodys which will allow cargo to be moved between hubs.
BA should use the new slots to move first routes from LGW, go daily on GIG, HYD, MAA, MEX and PHX, plus start CLT, DTW and PDX.23 Sep 2011
It’s a good point on using widebodies for MAD; the 767s might take the strain on this route for BA once refurbished.
Another US destination is rumoured; but I hardly think returning to Detroit DTW can be warranted in the current economic climate. Portland PDX is a lovely city, but again with service to nearby Seattle SEA and the easy coverage via AA codeshares exChicago ORD I can’t see that stacking up, either. Charlotte? I’d hardly prioritise Charlotte over increased frequency and additional services to India and China.
All very interesting, and who knows if some of the mooted changes at LGW might start out life at LHR instead as a consequence of this development.
I am a huge fan of bmi, and its people are second to none, so it’s a shame it’s come to this. Let’s hope lots of them take the plunge and join BA.23 Sep 2011
These may be the LH Italia slot pairs for LHR-MXP which were part operated by bmi.
I don’t think this rules out BA acquiring bmi but, in truth, an acquisition of slots is much easier than buying another airline. And I think everyone can empathise with the uncertainty for bmi staff.
I guess this may explain the lack of growth/new routes for BA at LGW as the new 777s will be required for these 6 slot pairs and the 2 leased from Qantas.
As for new routes, ICN is a good contender. MAD may still get more flights as frequency is all important for facilitating connections between the two hubs.23 Sep 2011
This is about 10% of BMI’s daily slot allocation at LHR and will leave BMI operating about 50 departures per day compared to BA’s 300-305 on a peak day. Virgin Atlantic have approximately 21 departures per day, all widebody.
BMI’s slots are spread throughout the day making it easier for BA to integrate them into their network and further optimise their operations. It’s harder for a niche long-haul carrier such as Virgin to integrate slots into their network. For example – early morning LHR departures from are would be unappealing for Virgin while much of their Asian and US network need early morning arrivals (5am-8am) to be competitive.23 Sep 2011
BA could operate 767s to MAD, but better for IB to operate A330s.
Charlotte is the leading US financial centre, after New York of course, and so a good candidate for a link to London. US Airways operate to LGW but are dire.23 Sep 2011
IAG should offer long haul config LHR – MAD, at least 3 class WT, WTP, CW. This way many routes on IAG network could be long haul config both sectors. It could also allow IAG to test whether a 1st class product would work short haul.23 Sep 2011
It’s not gone yet, so we must not print the obituaries just yet. Still sad though when you see an airline going into terminal decline.
Surprised though that BMI did not copy the Easyjet/Ryanair formula. They could have moved to Luton or Stansted and perhaps then still be a very viable concern.23 Sep 2011
IIRC BD did attempt to operate some flights from STN a few years back mostly to Germany but they failed miserably.
The difficulty with them now is that they offer nothing useful and a totally inconsistent product so you never really know what you’re getting. At one time they excelled but somewhere lost the plot. It has been so sad to watch but it’s hard to see a way back for them now.23 Sep 2011