The merger of bmi and British Airways: Two years on

It’s now two years since the parent company of British Airways, International Airlines Group, officially completed its purchase of bmi from Lufthansa.

The merger represented a major milestone in BA’s history and a significant shift in the balance of power at Heathrow, so it’s worth looking at what has happened to former bmi routes and the current state of play at Heathrow.

1. London Heathrow Route Cancellations

A large number of former bmi routes were cancelled by BA. Here are the routes, in order of date of cancellation:

Damascus (29 May 2012)
Addis Ababa (10 June 2012)
Dammam (16 September 2012)
Bishkek, Khartoum (1 October 2012)
Tehran (12 October 2012)
Yerevan (13 October 2012)
Amristar, Casablanca, Marrakech (28 October 2012)
Tbilisi (31 March 2013)

2. bmi’s additions to the BA route network

These former bmi routes are now a permanent part of the BA route network: Agadir, Almaty, Amman, Baku, Belfast, Beirut, Bergen, Dublin, Freetown, Hanover, and Stavenger.

With the exception of Almaty, Agadir, Bergen, Stavenger and Freetown, these routes operate from Heathrow Terminal 1.

Belfast and Dublin flights will move to Terminal 5 from Sunday 26 October 2014.

3. New BA routes from London Heathrow

BA has used the additional slots to operate these new routes from Heathrow:

Marseille from Terminal 1 from 28 October 2012 (this is a transfer from London Gatwick).

Leeds-Bradford from Terminal 5, and Rotterdam and Zagreb from Terminal 1, from 9 December 2012.

Monrovia via Freetown from Terminal 5 from 6 November 2012.

Daily flights to Seoul (initially six weekly) from Terminal 5 from 5 December 2012.

Five flights a week (initially three a week) to Chengdu from Terminal 5 from 22 September 2013.

Five flights a week to Austin, Texas, from 3 March 2014.

Seasonal weekend summer flights from Terminal 5 to Faro, Ibiza, Malaga, Mykonos, Porto, Palma de Mallorca and Santorini.

4. BA reverts to a three terminal operation at London Heathrow

One consequence of the merger is that BA has reverted to a three terminal operation at London Heathrow with its operation split across Terminals 1, 3 and 5 with most of the former bmi mid-haul routes and BA routes to Cairo and departing from the Terminal.

However, BA will consolidate its operation in Terminals 3 and 5 in 2015 in advance of Terminal 1 closing in 2016.

5. Virgin Atlantic Little Red

Last but not least, BA was required by competition authorities to make available slots on routes where there was a lessening of competition from the merger.

Virgin Atlantic applied for nine slot pairs and has operated six daily flights to Edinburgh and thrice daily flights to Aberdeen (as well as flights to Manchester using its own slots) under the “Little Red” brand.

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