Scotland business

BMI regional unveils new Aberdeen to Bristol flights

The airline bmi regional is to introduce direct flights from Aberdeen to Bristol.

The new airline, with its operations base in Aberdeen, has announced two new routes this winter, while keeping all its existing routes.

BMI regional was carved out of BMI at the larger airlines takeover by British Airways' owner, IAG.

It said it will fly twice daily between Aberdeen and Bristol, and also between Manchester and Antwerp in Belgium.

The airline has also announced it has taken on 20 more staff at East Midlands Airport with 20 more being recruited. It is renting new headquarters there, in preparation for a formal split from IAG on 28 October.

It has taken on M&C Saatchi as its advertising agency to promote the company under the logo 'Streamlined for Business', and is now operating its own website for bookings.

Ian Woodley, the airline's chairman, said: "We believe the introduction of these new routes alongside maintaining our existing services demonstrates a clear statement of our intent to develop the business, and the additional flights will offer customers greater choice and flexibility when travelling directly as well as providing additional onward connectivity."

While bmi regional is losing staffed contract leasing which it carries out for the mainstream part of BMI when it ceases flying between Heathrow and both Edinburgh and Aberdeen, the smaller airline is not bidding for the slots being freed up by regulators for links between the London hub and the east Scottish airports.

Airline decision

Virgin Atlantic has publicly stated that it wants to run those services, in competition with British Airways. Aer Lingus has confirmed it is bidding for six of the Heathrow slots, so that it can start operating between the London airport and Edinburgh.

That would be the Irish airline's first internal British route, while it already flies three times a day between Dublin and Edinburgh.

A spokesman for Aer Lingus confirmed the bid to BBC Scotland, saying: "We see it as an important part of our strategy, because one of the big issues in UK aviation is the lack of neutral feed."

That refers to Air Lingus's lack of any link into long-haul services, unlike the global alliances to which most other large airlines belong.

The spokesman said Aer Lingus is now the third biggest operator at Heathrow and argued it has the advantage over Virgin Atlantic of having short-haul experience.

A decision on which airline wins the Heathrow landing slots is expected in mid-November for competition with BA to start from next March.

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