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bmi group "absolutely committed" to Scottish air travel

21st October 2008 Print
The bmi group has reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to Scottish air travellers following newspaper reports that Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, had sought assurances from British Airways about their own commitment, this following speculation that BA was reviewing its operations and could pull out of Scotland.

In a letter to the First Minister, Alex Salmond, chief executive of the bmi group Nigel Turner, said: “This perhaps should come as little surprise given that BA has long since withdrawn services from Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. I therefore wanted to reassure you that the airlines within the bmi group remain absolutely committed to services to and from Scotland.

“We fully understand your disappointment with BA’s alleged decision, though we accept that this is a decision for them to make. However, bmi’s loyalty to the Scottish market remains undiminished and we look forward to continuing our excellent relationship and support from your party members and the wider Scottish community.

“We have been serving Scotland since the 1950’s and today the bmi group of airlines probably are Scotland’s biggest provider of air services. Can I also remind you that it was thanks to bmi in 1982 that BA were forced to dramatically upgrade their London Heathrow “shuttle” product when faced with new stiff competition from bmi.

“In addition to London and the wide range of connections to destinations throughout the world that are available, the bmi group links Scotland to the rest of the world via other hubs such as Manchester, Brussels, Copenhagen and Zurich. bmibaby provides a high frequency low cost service to other key UK cities. Of course BA's direct links between Scotland and mainland Europe were abandoned several years ago.

“Furthermore this coming winter, bmi mainline has, unlike BA, not cancelled any routes or frequencies from Heathrow to Glasgow and Edinburgh and will even increase services to Aberdeen. I think we could almost truly call ourselves Scotland’s longest serving international airline.”

Mr Turner concluded that there was still much to be done to improve air services to Scotland and that he would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with Mr Salmond if he felt appropriate.

bmi’s history of serving Scotland goes back to the 1950s. Flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh to London Heathrow were introduced in 1982 and 1983 after the airline successfully campaigned for the opening up of domestic trunk routes. In 2001 bmi regional, which operates from regional airports to destinations throughout the UK and Europe, moved its headquarters to Aberdeen. bmibaby, the low cost arm of the company, started flying from Scotland shortly after it began operations in 2002.

Today bmi and bmi regional operate the following routes from Scotland:

Aberdeen to: Esbjerg (daily); Groningen (daily); London Heathrow (6 x daily); Manchester (7 x daily); Norwich (2 x daily)

Edinburgh to: Brussels (3 x daily); Copenhagen (3 x daily); Leeds Bradford (3 x daily); London Heathrow (8 x daily); Manchester (6 x daily); Zurich (1 x daily)

Glasgow to: Copenhagen (1 x daily); Leeds Bradford (3 x daily); London Heathrow (8 x daily); Manchester (4 x daily).

bmibaby operates the following routes from Scotland:

Aberdeen to: Birmingham

Edinburgh to: East Midlands Airport; Birmingham; Cardiff

Glasgow to: Birmingham; Cardiff; East Midlands; Knock