Blaming the British Airports Authority for squeezing it dry, British Midland Airways (BMI) announced plans to axe its Glasgow-London Heathrow route in April. The carrier blamed ever-increasing airport taxes that have recently gone from £13 to £20 on domestic flights departing from Heathrow and will soon go up to £22. It is estimated that BMI looses £1MN each month on the route.
BMI has been struggling on this route for a while so I wouldn't pin all the blame on BAA, but the increased tax burden sure didn't help matters. The airline has also lodged a formal complaint against BAA for charging the same landing fees for larger aircraft like the A380 as they do for BMI's narrow-body fleet.
British Midland will continue service to Glasgow and Edinburgh from Heathrow, so at least for now BMI will continue to operate domestically. BMI also announced plans for new service to Bergen and Stavanger in Norway and to Casablanca and Marrakech in Morocco, welcome additions to BMI's international route map.
The future of BMI remains unclear. We still don't know what will happen to the Diamond Club frequent flyer program or the carrier itself. Whatever happens though, it will not be good for the flying public if BMI continues to lose money each month. Let's hope this latest tinkering with the route map will lead to better dividends.