BMI axes Birmingham flights

British Midland International, better known as budget airline BMI, will axe an ‘unpopular’ flight between Aberdeen and Birmingham on October 29 2010.

The domestic route has “not performed as expected” according to a spokesperson for the airline, and all ticket holders will have their money refunded or be given passage on a different route.

The doomed flight has been in circulation since March 29 2009, initially operating on a thrice-daily basis. However, flagging passenger numbers forced BMI to reduce the number of flights between Aberdeen and the Midlands to 11 a week – two on every weekday and one flight on Sundays.

Planes on the Birmingham route will now be transferred onto BMI’s flight from Aberdeen to Manchester, helping the carrier “meet the demand for seats during the peak afternoon travel period”. The extra aircraft will boost the frequency of flights between the Dyce airport and Manchester to six rotations a week.

Travellers who had been hoping to travel after the end of October, when the Aberdeen-Birmingham route is terminated, have had some of their fears assuaged by budget airline Flybe. The carrier, which has a large base in the Midlands, has added four extra flights onto its regular service between the two cities.

Flybe’s ‘rescue’ is the second such gesture in just under a month, after the airline introduced three routes at Belfast City to fill a scheduling hole caused by a fleeing Ryanair.

Whilst the loss of BMI’s domestic route to Birmingham is unfortunate, recent comments by Aberdeen chief Derek Provan suggest that the Scottish hub will concentrate on finding new international routes in the short-term, rather than focusing purely on short-haul flights and providing transport for the oil and gas industry.

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