British Midland International (often just referred to as “bmi”) was an airline based in the UK that operated flights until 2012, when they were taken over by British Airways.
Most notably for points enthusiasts, British Midland had an incredible frequent flyer program. Thanks to their membership in Star Alliance, their program was a great option even for those who never flew with the airline. Ah, the good old days (and those who were bmi Diamond Club enthusiasts know exactly what I’m talking about)…
The bmi brand isn’t completely dead, though… or at least wasn’t until now. British Midland Regional, often referred to as flybmi, has continued to operate flights. The airline has operated a fleet of 17 Embraer regional jets, with a hub at East Midlands Airport.
So while I don’t see British Midland planes that often nowadays personally, I can’t help but have a big smile on my face every time that I do (I remember seeing some in Brussels and Munich not too long ago).
As we’ve seen, the aviation market has gotten really tough in Europe recently, especially for smaller airlines, and also startup airlines that were in growth phases.
Now it looks like another airline is biting the dust. British Midland Regional has announced today that they’re ceasing operations effective immediately. They blame the uncertainty created by Brexit, spikes in fuel and carbon costs, and more.
Per a statement from the airline:
“The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme.
These issues have undermined efforts to move the airline into profit. Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe. Additionally, our situation mirrors wider difficulties in the regional airline industry which have been well documented.”
The airline has received investments totaling over £40m in the last six years, but despite that, hasn’t been profitable. Frankly I’m amazed they lasted as long as they did. Between 2011 and 2017 their average annual load factors ranged 49.1% to 62%, which is abysmal.
Nonetheless I’m of course sad for all the employees who are out of jobs as a result of this.
(Featured image courtesy of Peter Bakema)