Flybmi Ceases Operations

Filed Under: bmi

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)

  1. Sad to see the brand die, though in truth the fantastic airline formerly known as BMI ( and before that British Midland) has been dead for years.

  2. Does this effects “BMI Regional”? They fly for eg. Lufthansa in codeshare so there will be problems for those passangers

  3. Sad for those who have lost their jobs or have had their travel plans affected.

    I too have great memories of the “old” BMI/ British Midland, I often used them between Heathrow and Dublin in the mid-2000s. They were well ahead of Aer Lingus for travel between the two airports and were a fantastic airline.

  4. Ben, wow, this is the first entry into the “BMI” section of the blog for 7 years – time flies, doesn’t it.

  5. I still remember the days when all my family members went out to check-in at different Super 8’s and Knight Inns (the cheaper Wyndham Rewards brands) to earn 5,000 bmi miles per stay.

    Now… One of my closest family members, who earned lots of bmi miles during that promotion and redeemed them for transpacific travel in business class, has passed away. We traveled together on that trip, which was a very pleasant journey, full of memories. Although we never set foot on any bmi or flybmi flight, I am very sad to hear that the bmi brand is finally gone.

  6. I’d imagine They survived as long as they did because they had a semi decent charter operation which was propping them up. Often used by UK soccer teams for flying to matches within the UK and oil companies.

  7. Sad, but the fact of the matter is they didn’t fly any routes that were particularly useful except for those they operated on a wet lease to other airlines and they’ve been losing those contracts steadily to other, and I must say, far poorer quality competitors. Sad to see this happen though. Many of the staff will have been with the airline since the pre-BA sale days. I wish them all well and thank them all for many years of service. RIP BMI.

  8. As with others, I miss the old BMI which at one time was my first choice for domestic flights by a country mile but I don’t think that nostalgia applied to FlyBMI

  9. Diamond club was my first credit card at age 17 or 18, without even knowing much about the points game, it gave me a LOT of benefit. BMI has been dead for a while, but I still reminisce about those days.

  10. And…another European airline bites the dust.

    RIP bmi, indeed. It was nice to still the brand around in some form or another. But I guess with the way things are going in Europe, we might see a few more airlines ceasing operations as well. I wonder who will be next…

  11. The end of cheap credit and rising interest rates is leading more and more cases like this.

    Airlines have in general always been a risky biz.

  12. another airline down the tubes, its a shame, I see they have blasmes Britex, what a load of nonsense, our Pound is is low ,so go for passengers from abroad, cheap fuel, cheap monies, just badly run, in any even as i said shame its got, I used to love Monarch, but again, poor management,

  13. @Denis… God love you dear sir, I laughed on and off for a good 30 minutes. Best entertainment in a long time.

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