From next January the sole direct air link between the northwest and Toulouse will cease. Bmi says it is scrapping its daily flight from Manchester starting January 6 because, according to a spokesperson, “the route is no longer commercially viable.”
The airline says it will refund passengers who have made bookings but it is not rebooking passengers with other carriers because “we can’t offer a realistic alternative.”
It seems that any alternatives involve rival carriers which fly indirectly. Bmi is a member of Star alliance while the other indirect options involve rival alliances. For example, you can fly from Manchester with British Airways (a Oneworld member) via Gatwick or with KLM/Air France (both Skyteam members) via Amsterdam and Paris.
Fortunately a saviour has arrived in the shape of Jet2. The budget carrier has announced it will fly the route non-stop five times a week with a B737 starting on April 16. Return fares typically start from £64. But Jet2’s flight timings aren’t as civilised as those of Bmi.
The Jet2 flight will depart from Manchester at 1900 to reach Toulouse at 2200. In the return direction, the departure time is at 2230 arriving in Manchester at 2330. By comparison, Bmi’s flight departs at mid-morning, returning in the early afternoon.
Bmi declined to speculate as to whether Jet2’s arrival influenced its decision to withdraw from the Toulouse route. The carrier’s last flight will operate on January 5.
Report by Alex McWhirter