BMI (formerly British Midland), the British airline, is abandoning plans to launch services to North America and is “looking east” instead, to the rapidly developing economies of the Middle East and Central Asia, including countries like Tehran, Almaty, in Kazakhstan, and Baku, in Azerbaijan. The airline’s long-held ambition to launch flights from Heathrow to the United States has been pushed back until at least 2009. Bmi’s decision to postpone launching Heathrow-US flights could be a shrewd maneouvre from chairman Sir Michael Bishop.
Bmi will continue to offer flights from Manchester to Chicago and Las Vegas. Its new destinations include Aleppo and Damascus, in Syria; Amman, in Jordan; Ankara, in Turkey; Beirut, in Lebanon, Bishkek, in Kyrgyzstan; Ekaterinburg, in Russia; Tbilisi, in Georgia; and Yerevan, Armenia. The airline will also fly to African destinations including Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia; Dakar, in Senegal; Cairo, in Egypt; Khartoum, in Sudan; and Freetown, in Sierra Leone. The airline will spend $750 million (£372 million ) buying and leasing new aircraft to service these routes and it is investigating additional routes to Lahore, in Pakistan, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Kiev, in Ukraine. (source: Timesonline)