Skift Take

Bmibaby was a one-time contender as a leading low-cost carrier, but it was hamstrung by its Lufthansa and then IAG ownership and lacked the benefit of having a near-insane leader (a la Ryanair or easyJet) calling the shots.

Bmibaby has made its final flight after more than 10 years in operation.

The no-frills airline was established in March 2002, but IAG, the parent company of British Airways, chose to shut it down following its takeover of BMI in June.

The final service, flight WW5330 from Malaga to East Midlands airport, landed at 10.45pm last night, and was an apt finale – Bmibaby’s maiden flight was between the same places.

Around 450 staff will be made redundant, although Monarch is taking over a number of Bmibaby’s routes, and hopes to create 150 jobs. Other routes are being taken over by and Flybe.

Following its launch, the airline became Britain’s third-largest low-cost carrier. At its height, it served destinations such as Prague, Alicante, Rome, Barcelona and Amsterdam from its headquarters at East Midlands airport in Leicestershire.

It opened further bases in Cardiff in October 2002, Manchester and Durham Tees Valley in 2003, and Birmingham in 2005, but insufficient passenger numbers caused it to cease operations at Durham Tees Valley after just three years.

It was sold to German airline Lufthansa in 2008, but its decline continued, with services from Cardiff and Manchester terminated in 2011.

The airline was losing an average of around £25 million annually during its last four years, and was sold to IAG, paving the way for its closure.

Ten other defunct British airlines

Zoom Airlines: Launched in 2006 as a low-cost transatlantic airline. Filed for bankruptcy protection just two years later.

Silverjet: All business-class airline based in Luton. Launched in 2006, and also lasted just two years.

Laker Airways: The first long-haul, low-cost airline, launched in 1966 by Sir Freddie Laker. Fell victim to the recession in the early Eighties, filing for bankruptcy in 1982.

Go Fly: Stansted-based no-frills carrier purchased by EasyJet IN 2003, after five years in service.

Flyglobespan: Ceased trading in 2009, after seven years. Based in Scotland, where it served destinations in Europe, North America and Africa.

XL Airways: Low-cost airline, formerly called Sabre Airways, that ceased trading in 2008.

Air Southwest: Regional airline with hubs in Plymouth, Newquay and Bristol. Served 12 European destinations before closing in 2011.

BOAC: The first British state airline, created in 1940. It merged with BEA to become British Airways in 1974.

Astraeus Airlines: Founded in 2002 as a charter airline, Astraeus provided ad-hoc services to clients including Manchester United and Arsenal, the military, and showbusiness firms such as Disney and Warner Bros. Ceased operations in 2011.

Air 2000: Charter airline that operated from 1987 until 2004, when it was renamed First Choice Airways.


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Tags: bmibaby, british airways

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