Timeshare owners thinking of booking British Midlands carrier bmibaby for a holiday this autumn should be aware that there will be no more bmibaby flights from September 20 following the decision by its new owner IAG to ground it, affecting almost 500 staff. Summer flights from East Midlands and Birmingham are still on sale but there will be no further flights from September 20.
Some routes will cease to be serviced by bmibaby as early as next month, on June 11, because the East Midlands based airline has been losing £25 million a year. IAG acquired both bmibaby and bmi from Lufthansa recently but the airline has struggled to survive, losing over £100 million in the last four years, according to its interim managing director Peter Simpson.
Simpson wrote a letter to all staff to inform them: "To help stem losses as quickly as possible, and as a preliminary measure, we will be making reductions to bmibaby’s flying programme from June,” he said. “We sincerely apologise to all customers affected and will be providing full refunds and doing all we can with other airlines to mitigate the impact of these changes."
The following routes will stop on June 11: Belfast and East Midlands to Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, Nice, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newquay, and from Birmingham to Knock and Amsterdam.
Meanwhile Monarch and Ryanair will be filling the gap left by bmibaby. Monarch is launching a new base at East Midlands Airport and will put on additional flights from Birmingham and launch new flights to key leisure destinations (good news for timeshare owners as most are very popular resort destinations). These include Malaga, Alicante, Palma, Faro (from the Midlands for late summer) and new flights from Birmingham will include these same destinations plus a new service to Spain’s capital of style, Barcelona.
For those affected by the bmibaby grounding, Ryanair has launched rescue fares of £29.99 for those who had bookings from Belfast and Birmingham to airports such as Derry Dublin and East Midlands. Ryanair said it was working with IAG to service the following routes:
• Derry to/from: Alicante, Birmingham, Faro, Glasgow and London
• Dublin to/from: Alicante, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Eindhoven, Faro, Glasgow, Ibiza, London, Malaga and Palma.
• East Midland to/from: Knock
Passengers will be able to book these flights until 20th May for travel dates from 11th June until 27th October this year.
Monarch managing director Kevin George said: "In light of recent industry changes, opportunities have opened up in the market. It has become clear that the Midlands will be underserved as a region in the future, and that there is a lack of quality carriers to serve customers travelling from the area.
"As an airline with over 40 years heritage and a stronghold in the Midlands already, the expansion of our existing services from Birmingham and the launch of operations from East Midlands makes perfect sense for Monarch, and accelerates the strategy we announced last year to focus on the development of our scheduled operations into key leisure destinations across the Mediterranean, the Canaries and North Africa."