Bmi Regional and Lufthansa have signed a codeshare agreement that will see the German carrier add Bristol to its global network from Friday.
The deal will allow passengers to connect twice daily between Bristol Airport and Frankfurt and daily to Munich. Neither route operates on a Saturday.
It provides Bmi Regional travellers access to Lufthansa’s worldwide network of 235 destinations.
From left: Bmi Regional’s Cathal O’Connell, Bristol Airport’s Robert Sinclair and Lufthansa’s Christian Schindler launch the new codeshare at Bristol Airport today
Cathal O’Connell, CEO of Bmi Regional, told Business Traveller: “This codeshare enables customers from the south-west to use our services and the worldwide services of Lufthansa, which serves over 200 worldwide destinations from Frankfurt and Munich.
“It enables business customers to avail of those services in accessing destinations worldwide. It also enables businesses to work with colleagues or other businesses around the world and ensure that incoming business trips have direct access, using the Lufthansa network, into Bristol.
“In effect, Bristol becomes a part of the global Lufthansa network, so it becomes more visible as a destination for inbound business and indeed inbound tourism customers.”
The codeshare is Bmi’s second such agreement since its independence 20 months ago (see news, June 2012).
Last month, the airline teamed up with Lufthansa subsidiary Brussels Airlines to codeshare on the twice daily Newcastle to Brussels route. That agreement allows Bmi passengers to continue their journey to Brussels Airlines destinations across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America.
And, in the next week a second Brussels Airlines codeshare between East Midlands and Brussels will begin.
Bmi Regional has, however, ruled out flying in and out of London airports.
O’Connell said: “We’ve always taken the view, as an independent carrier, that the London market is a very difficult market for an airline operating regional aircraft.
“The airports are more expensive to operate into, but also the ability to create a marketing proposition in such a large market, it’s quite challenging for an airline of our size.
“So our strategy has been to develop our services from the regional airport to give customers an alternative to having to travel through London.”
The airline stopped selling business class tickets earlier this year (see news, February 7) and instead introduced an enhanced all-economy product throughout the aircraft.
As part of this “premium” economy service, Bmi Regional has refreshed its complimentary food and drink selection. Since Sunday, it no longer offers sandwiches and instead hands out a “Bmi Bistro” snack box.
O’Connell said: “We’re offering, throughout the whole aircraft, a ‘Bmi Bistro’. It’s a snack box which has a number of snack contents within it.
“It’s something that we’ve developed with Skytrax. And basically the feedback in the first three days has been incredibly positive. Our customers love it.”