The sale of BMI to IAG marks the end of an era for the airline as it becomes fully integrated into British Airways
27 October 2012
Today aviation history was made when the very last BMI flight into Heathrow landed at 10.30am.
As the Baku to London Heathrow flight taxied onto the Terminal 1 runway, there was a fleet of fire engines standing by to salute the flight with canons of water.
British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG), who also own Spanish airline Iberia, agreed a deal back in December 2011 to buy the airline from Germany's Lufthansa for £172.5m giving them 56 more slots at Heathrow.
Even though the total integration has been scheduled for a while, the mood today was somewhat sentimental. Passengers were offered champagne and gifts of BMI fridge magnets were given out while the pilots lamented the end of an illustrious life that dated back to 1938 when it Captain Roy Harben established Air Schools Limited to train RAF volunteer service.
By 2001, British Midland became BMI British Midland, shortened to BMI in 2003. In 2005 it had carried 10.1 million passengers, the highest of any UK airline. In 2007, BMI bought British Mediterranean Airways and gained access to new markets in Africa, Middle East and Central Asia. BMI sold BMED's Heathrow slots to British Airways for £30 milion.
In November 2009, BMI was taken over by Lufthansa but in 2011 it wanted to sell BMI becaused of continued losses. Virgin were in the picture as buyers, but were pipped to the post by BA.
BMI employed more than 3800 staff but in 2010 had reported losses of £153m. IAG chief Willie Walsh conceded there would be job losses and confirmed that there would be company restructuring to create new jobs in the future.
Perhaps as they laid their BMI hats down for the last time, the flight attendants were shedding tears both for the loss of the airline they loved and uncertainty for their future. Whatever their personal reason, the sentiment was truly heartfelt.Show Images