BM launches fresh bid for transatlantic slots

BM launches fresh bid for transatlantic slots

BRITISHMidland has revealed plans for new long-haul routes as part of its strategy to relaunch as an intercontinental airline.

The airline has applied to the Civil Aviation Authority for six transatlantic services from Manchester to Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Miami and Seattle in time for a summer 2000 launch.

The application comes one month before the carrier is expected to change its name to reflect a more global image (Travel Weekly August 2).

British Midland has already applied to relaunch the Heathrow-US services that it operated in the early 1980s.

A spokeswoman said: "We are constantly applying for routes. We want to keep our options open."

If the UK and US cannot reach agreement on opening up Heathrow to additional transatlantic carriers, British Midland has said it will start long-haul flights from Manchester.

As Manchester is a regional airport it does not come under the same tough bilateral restrictions as Heathrow. Under the agreement, the only UK carriers that can serve the US from Heathrow are British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Tomorrow, British Midland chairman Sir Michael Bishop will put additional pressure on negotiators to agree to the airline's request to be exempt from Heathrow bilaterals.

He is to launch a nationwide campaign highlighting what he says are the high fares charged by airlines flying out of Heathrow to the US.

Sir Michael is also looking for support from business groups, for the carrier's transatlantic flights, which he has said will undercut rivals.


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