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英国英伦航空公司(BMI) 星空联盟成员之一



  BMI is a scheduled airline based in Donington Hall, close to East Midlands Airport, United Kingdom. The airline flies to destinations in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean and Saudi Arabia whilst its operational bases are Manchester Airport and London Heathrow Airport where it holds 11% of all take off and landing slots and operates over 2000 flights a week. BMI is a trading name of British Midland Airways Limited which formerly operated as British Midland. In January 2007, BMI bought British Mediterranean Airways, which means that from later this year, the airline will fly to a much wider range of destinations in Africa and the Middle East.

  British Midland Airways Limited holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, it is permitted to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.


British Midland B737
British Midland B737

  The airline dates back to the formation of Derby Aviation Limited on the 16 February 1949. Derby Aviation was a subsidiary of Air Schools Limited which had been formed in 1938 to train pilots for the RAF pilots. In 1949, the company formed both Derby Aviation based at Burnaston near Derby and Wolverhampton Aviation based at Pendeford, near Wolverhampton offering ad-hoc charter and freight flights with De Havilland Dragon Rapides, as well as aircraft maintenance and brokerage.

  Flying instruction ceased in 1953 with the start of scheduled flights from Derby and Wolverhampton to Jersey. When the first Douglas DC-3 arrived in 1955, Wolverhampton Aviation had been phased out and the company's sole base became Burnaston Airport. International services commenced in 1956 to Ostend and holiday flights to mainland Europe began. The company was also contracted by Rolls-Royce to transport aero engines to customers throughout the world.In 1959, the company changed its name to Derby Airways. Domestic scheduled flights within the United Kingdom were launched toward the end of the decade.


  On 1 October 1964 the company changed its name to British Midland Airways (BMA) and moved operations from Burnaston to the recently opened East Midlands Airport. The corporate colours of blue and white were adopted at that time, with the introduction of the first turboprop aircraft, the Handley Page Herald. Minster Assets, an investment and banking group, acquired the airline in 1968. Domestic and European expansion continued apace and in 1970 BMA entered the jet age with the introduction of the BAC 1-11, followed by the Boeing 707 in 1971. The BAC 1-11s were withdrawn from service in 1972 and the 707s leased to other airlines as BMA concentrated on turboprops such as the Vickers Viscount. Though the 707 fleet was increased, none operated for BMA on scheduled services, or charter services on their behalf until 1981. Instead they were leased to other operators. The Douglas DC-9 converted most of the airline's domestic and European service to jet operation with its introduction in 1976.

  In 1978, the company directors purchased the airline from Minster Assets. The consortium included Sir Michael Bishop who is now the airline's chairman. That year, British Midland and British Airways agreed to route swapping. This resulted in British Midland Airways relinquishing its continental routes from Birmingham to Brussels and Frankfurt and BA handing over its routes from Liverpool to Heathrow, Belfast, Dublin, Jersey, the Isle of Man and Glasgow. As a result, annual passenger numbers topped 1 million for the first time in 1979.

  In 1981, an application to fly between Heathrow, Glasgow and Edinburgh was denied by the CAA. The ruling was overturned, however, after an appeal was lodged with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. With the introduction of these services, BMA and BA were now in direct competition.

  BMA, together with British & Commonwealth Shipping, formed Manx Airlines in 1982, and the following year BMA purchased a 75% stake in Glasgow-based airline Loganair. In March 1987, Airlines of Britain Holdings (ABH) was formed to act as a holding company for British Midland and British Midland Aviation Services. ABH became British Midland in 1997 when it was de-merged as part of wide restructuring.



  A new colour scheme was unveiled in 1985. Aircraft were now painted in very dark blue, with a deep grey lower half of the fuselage and a red relief. At this time, the airline simply became British Midland, and a new logo of a stylised red BM crowned with a diamond shape appeared on the aircraft tailfins (see right). Airport lounges were introduced at UK hubs and the Diamond Club frequent flyer programme was launched. The charter market was abandoned and the 707 fleet withdrawn at this time.

  In 1992, British Midland became the first airline to offer a vegetarian choice of in-flight meals on UK domestic services as well as one of the first airlines in Europe to do so. Towards the end of the 1990s, British Midland switched to Airbus and Embraer for its fleet renewal programme.

  In 1999, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), a shareholder in British Midland since 1987, sold some of its stake to Lufthansa on the condition that British Midland joined the Star Alliance. BMI joined in 2000 and launched a new corporate identity in 2001. This involved the rebranding of the airline as BMI British midland (though BMI officially does not mean anything, it implies 'British Midland International'). The new identity features a brighter blue and the replacement of the grey with white. It brings a modern, fresh appearance with sweeping curves. In 2003, the "British Midland" portion was dropped and the airline is now referred to simply as BMI. The new identity coincided with the launch of transatlantic services in 2001 to Washington, DC and Chicago from Manchester Airport using wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft. Services from Manchester to Las Vegas followed soon after.

  Despite the launch of transatlantic routes from Manchester, BMI has fought to gain the rights to serve the United States from Heathrow. Only British Airways, Air India, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, United Airlines, Air New Zealand, and Kuwait Airways are permitted to offer such routes.

  BMI operated a service to Mumbai from London Heathrow between May 2005 until October 2006, after the UK and India concluded amendments to their bilateral air service agreement. Services to Riyadh followed, commencing on 1 September 2005 after British Airways ceased to serve Saudi Arabia earlier that year.

  The BMI Group carried 7.95 million passengers during 2002. By 2005, the total had risen to 10.1 million, the third highest of any UK airline.In early 2006, the Association of European Airlines reported a drop in passengers carried and load factors for BMI mainline and regional services (excluding bmibaby) whilst reporting increased loads for other AEA members over the same period. Despite this drop in passenger figures, BMI group reported a pre-tax profit of £10.0 million for the year ending 31 December 2005.

  In late 2006 BMI launched a scheduled service to Moscow Domodedevo in co-operation with Transaero on 29 October 2006 with a dedicated A320 (G-MIDO) with special seating for the service, including leather seats and a 40" seat pitch.

  In March 2007, BMI announced it intends to reveal details of new services from Heathrow to the USA, taking advantage of the end of Bermuda II restriction of services from that airport to the USA brought about by the EU-US open-skies pact due to start on 31 March 2008. This was followed by reports that BMI and United Airlines were in talks about forming a possible alliance for transatlantic flights once the EU-US open skies pact comes into effect on 31 March 2008.


  In 2002, BMI set up a low-cost subsidiary bmibaby using redundant Boeing 737s which were displaced after bmi's fleet renewal programme favoured an all-Airbus fleet. bmibaby now flies routes between secondary airports around Europe, however it does not operate from Heathrow.

  In January 2007, BMI bought British Mediterranean Airways,a British Airways franchise partner, and will gain access to new markets in Africa, Middle East and Central Asia that are served by the carrier.





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