After a few months of hemming and hawing, Lufthansa has finally started to make its mark on bmi. The airline announced a big restructuring that will involve cutting routes, moving airplanes around, and just generally aligning itself better with the growing Lufthansa empire.
When Lufthansa took control of bmi thanks to a previous agreement that made them pay a ton of money for the airline, the first plan was to sell it off. After it became apparent that they weren’t going to get the price they wanted (or even close to what they paid), they announced on November 2 that they would just try to get bmi into better shape on their own. It took them less than a month to bring out their plans.
This map was recently released showing what’s in store:
Oh wait, nevermind. That map’s about 70 years old, and as I recall, it didn’t work out so well for the Germans then. Of course, this version of Lufthansa didn’t exist back then, and their plans are actually far less, um, aggressive. As a reminder, there is bmi, which operates mainline aircraft out of London/Heathrow, and bmi regional which flies regional jets from other UK airports.
- bmi will go down from 39 to 30 airplanes. The fleet will now be made up of mostly A320 family aircraft with three Embraer 145s, a single A330, and a single 757. It wouldn’t surprise me to see those go away when the leases expire.
- bmi regional will see its number of regional jets rise from 15 to 17 thanks to bmi’s decision to send two back to bmi regional. bmi regional is looking to get rid of 3 of those airplanes, but nothing has happened yet.
- Flights from Heathrow to Brussels, Tel Aviv, Kiev, and Aleppo will end in January, but those cities will continue to be served by other Star alliance carriers via connections. The Brussels flights will instead operate under a codeshare with Brussels Airlines, another Lufthansa-owned airline.
- Flights from Heathrow to Amsterdam will go away in March.
- Seasonal runs from Heathrow to Venice and Palma won’t be coming back.
This is a pretty big cut in terms of aircraft flying, and that means that there will be plenty of unused Heathrow slots. Where will those go? Will they sell them off? Or will another Lufthansa-owned carrier pick up the slack? It will be very interesting to see what they do with those.
bmi’s strategy doesn’t look much different to me. They will continue to focus on Europe and the Middle East as they’ve been doing, but they’ll just have fewer airplanes doing it. There doesn’t appear to be any interest in London-US flying, so instead they’ll just look at how they can make bmi best fit into the Lufthansa puzzle.