Passengers heading to Moscow will be offered increased choice next autumn. Bmi and Russian independent carrier Transaero have teamed up to jointly offer two flights a day from Heathrow. They have taken advantage of a new aviation treaty to each offer a daily flight to Moscow. It is the first time ever that BA and Aeroflot will have faced competition on this lucrative route.
Bmi will use an Airbus A320 with more comfortable business class seating. The configuration will be four across (2-2). The seats themselves will be 21 inches wide with a 7 degree angle of recline. Leg room will be 41 inches (compared to BA's 34 inches and Aeroflot's 38 inches).
Flights will depart Heathrow at 0930 arriving at 1620 with the return at 1710 reaching the UK at 1805. Transaero will switch its daily B737 flight to Heathrow from Gatwick. It plans a mid-morning departure from Moscow with a lunchtime service from London. No business class or price details are yet available.
The UK-Russia aviation treaty restricts rivals BA and Aeroflot to each operating a maximum of 21 flights a week from London. Bmi and Transaero will use Moscow's Domodedovo airport (25 km from the city centre) which is reputed to have a more consumer-focused outlook than Sheremetyevo (the city's other main airport 16 km away) used by Aeroflot and some other European carriers.
The London-Moscow route has been a money-spinner for BA and Aeroflot with business class fares being high in relation to the flown distance. Bmi says it will cut the cost of premium tickets. Thre airline's lead-in economy rate will be £200 with business class at £1,300. Right now the lead-in rates with BA and Aeroflot are £229 and £204 respectively with business class offered for £1,619 and £1,365.
Report by Alex McWhirter