Bmi will abandon two routes to Paris CDG in the coming months.
First to go will be its main service from Heathrow, where flights will cease on February 25. Then on March 25, Bmi’s regional division will stop serving Leeds-Paris CDG.
The carrier claims the Heathrow-Paris CDG route is no longer commercially viable thanks to increasing competition from Eurostar’s high-speed train services. Bmi maintains it can use the vacated Heathrow slots to develop more profitable flights elsewhere.
Bmi’s CEONigel Turnersays: “There’s been a 37 per cent reduction in the overall air market to Paris [from London] over the past four years so there simply aren’t enough passengers to fill our flights. We are determined to get best value from our Heathrow slots and to operate and develop services that derive the best return on that valuable asset.”
But critics accuse the airline of cutting the number of Heathrow-Paris CDG flights in recent years, which has made the service less attractive. Not so long ago, Bmi might have operated eight or more flights a day on this busy route but now the total is five.
Then 18 months ago, Bmi took away business class and turned the Heathrow-Paris route into a “no frills” operation with passengers required to pay for food and drink.
When Business Traveller checked the cost of a day trip Heathrow-Paris CDG flight for next Monday January 22, the cheapest Bmi fare for peak-time flights was £336 while the same services booked with Air France (which still offers free snacks and drinks) were available for £283 in economy or £359 in business class.
The passengers who will be affected by this move are those belonging to frequent flyer (FFP) schemes of either Bmi (a Star Alliance member) or another Star carrier, as they will no longer be able to earn miles and points.
Also on the losing end are the many thousands of global travellers flying to Europe with Star Alliance members like ANA of Japan, Singapore Airlines, Thai or United who, until now, have used Bmi to bridge the gap between two of Europe’s most important capitals.
Air France and British Airways will continue to fly between Heathrow and Paris CDG. Budget carrierJet2already plies the Leeds to Paris CDG route.
For more information go to flybmi.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter