Bmibaby to close after owner BA fails to find buyer

Loss-making airline which employs 470 staff is to be grounded this September

Bmibaby, which employs 470 staff, is to close this September after no buyer was found for the loss-making airline.

All flights from its Belfast base will cease in mid-June, with many services from East Midlands and Birmingham axed at the same time.

British Airways’ parent company IAG acquired bmibaby and bmi regional when its purchase of bmi mainline from Lufthansa was cleared last month. IAG has made clear that the low-cost and regional subsidiaries were not part of its plans. The takeover could ultimately lead to 2,000 job losses across the bmi group, although IAG boss Willie Walsh has insisted that the deal was preserving many jobs that would otherwise have been lost.

IAG, which has begun consultations with trade unions on future options for bmibaby, said there had been progress with a potential buyer for bmi regional. Peter Simpson, bmi interim managing director, said: “We recognise that these are unsettling times for bmibaby employees, who have worked tirelessly during a long period of uncertainty.

“bmibaby has delivered high levels of operational performance and customer service, but has continued to struggle financially, losing more than £100m in the last four years. In the consultation process, we will need to be realistic about our options.”

To help stem losses as quickly as possible and as a preliminary measure, we will be making reductions to bmibaby’s flying programme from June. We sincerely apologise to all customers affected and will be providing full refunds and doing all we can with other airlines to mitigate the impact of these changes.”

Bmibaby flights to and from Belfast will end on 11 June, along with services from East Midlands to Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, Nice, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newquay, and from Birmingham to Knock and Amsterdam.

The airline said customers could still book summer holiday flights from East Midlands and Birmingham. Bmi mainline services from Belfast to London will continue. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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