BMI cuts Heathrow connections to Manchester, Glasgow

By John Walton, January 18 2011
BMI cuts Heathrow connections to Manchester, Glasgow

British airline BMI is cutting its domestic UK routes from London Heathrow, meaning less convenient connections at the UK's main hub for passengers connecting to regional destinations.

Travellers to UK destinations from longhaul flights on BMI's Star Alliance partners Air New Zealand, Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines will be particularly affected.

Heathrow's Terminal 1, reserved for the Star Alliance, had previously been a good transit option to reduce the numbers of connections needed when flying from Australia and New Zealand.

Flights to Manchester Airport (280 km to the northwest of London) will be reduced from six to four daily, and the airline is considering ending service to Glasgow -- 550 km away from Heathrow -- according to reports in British newspaper The Telegraph

If the Glasgow route is cut, British Airways will have a monopoly on the Heathrow-Glasgow market. 

For Star Alliance passengers, connecting to UK regional airports through European hubs now looks to be a better option: Lufthansa's Frankfurt and Munich hubs look particularly likely to benefit from a reduction in domestic UK connections.

Lufthansa (which is, interestingly, the parent company of BMI) will now fly more connections to Manchester than BMI -- three to Munich and four to Frankfurt. 

The cuts are good news for Emirates, though -- the Dubai-based airline has direct flights from its UAE hub to Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Birmingham. 

Since Emirates' A380s and 777s serve the routes (in comparison with BMI's single-aisle A320 family aircraft), travellers' choice of bigger aircraft with more extensive service may well be a contributing factor to the route cuts.

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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