Bristol and Newcastle will see increased frequencies to Brussels from next year, with Bmi serving the routes with smaller aircraft and operating flights on behalf of fellow Lufthansa subsidiary Brussels Airlines.
These routes are currently served by Brussels Airlines with aircraft such as the Avro RJ85, but from mid-January they will be operated by smaller Bmi Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft, using Bmi crew, but with a sign on the aircraft saying "operated on behalf of Brussels Airlines", and with Brussels Airlines short-haul cabin classes of business, b flex and b light.
Frequencies will increase from one to three flights per day in the case of Newcastle-Brussels, and from two to three flights per day in the case of Bristol-Brussels.
The ERJ 145 aircraft will be made available by Bmi pulling off the London Heathrow-Brussels route on January 9, to be replaced by Brussels Airlines the following day. Brussels says it will serve the route four times per day with larger aircraft (Boeing 737s, Avro RJs or Airbus A319s depending on the time of day), with timings adjusted to allow for connections onto the carrier's extensive African network.
At the same time Brussels Airlines will cease its London Gatwick-Brussels route. The move makes sense in terms of increasing connection possibilities at LHR with Star Alliance members, with Brussels Airlines having officially joined the alliance this week.
Schedules are currently being loaded into the Brussels Airlines website, and should be available for booking tomorrow (Friday December 11).
Report by Mark Caswell