24 January 2011

BMI is ready to stop using Heathrow as a hub airport due to BAA Ltd’s decision to increase landing charges on domestic flights. With BMI being Heathrow Airport’s second largest airline by slots this could mean a reduction in a number of domestic routes.

 BMI Chief Executive, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, has stated that the airline has drawn up an alternative strategy that would see passengers from UK regional airports funnelled through hubs operated by its parent company, Lufthansa, in continental Europe. BMI would the use the slots freed at Heathrow for more profitable routes to the Middle East and Africa.

 BAA Ltd is increasing the charges for domestic trips per passenger from £13 to £23 from April 2011. BMI is planning to challenge the sharp rises in the courts, arguing that the increases violate industry agreements that prices should only go up gradually. At the same time the landing charges for Airbus A380’s are lower than those imposed on narrow bodied aircraft such as the A319 and Boeing 737.