bmi announced it is reviewing the future of its UK domestic route network at its London Heathrow hub. The airport blamed BAA for increasing fees, stating it has "killed" domestic connections in the UK (Telegraph, 16-Jan-2011). bmi's parent, Lufthansa, recently released figures indicating bmi and bmibaby carried 6.19 million passengers, 1.0 million less than 2009. bmi has recently announced plans to cut its London Heathrow-Manchester service from six daily to four and is considering dropping its Glasgow service. The airline stated Heathrow has increased its lowest landing fees from GBP220 to GBP1000, making it uneconomic to operate smaller aircraft into the airport. BAA rejected that price increases are to blame, stating the Coalition government’s aviation policy has resulted in negative growth in domestic services.
BAA: “We do not comment on commercial decisions by airlines but slots at Heathrow are scarce and it is no surprise that airlines will seek to make the most efficient use of them. Ever since plans for a third runway at Heathrow were shelved, the outlook for links to Scotland and Northern Ireland has not been good. Lack of capacity at Heathrow is what is driving airlines towards longer distance flights.” Spokesperson. Source: Telegraph, 15-Jan-2011.