Bmibaby. By Rob Finlayson

UK low-cost carrier bmibaby is planning to close down in September if no buyer can be found.

International Airlines Group, parent of British Airways (BA) and Iberia, concluded the purchase of the British Midland group of airlines last month, with the main attraction being mainline carrier bmi’s valuable slots at capacity-constrained London Heathrow (ATW Daily News, April 23).

While BA is integrating bmi’s services into its own mainline operation, it has no interest in the other two carriers in the group—bmi regional and bmibaby—and has been trying to find buyers for them.

Bmi said Thursday that progress had been made with a potential buyer for bmi regional, but no likely purchaser had come forward for bmibaby and that consultations had started with trade unions over “future options including … a proposal to close in September this year.”

Bmi interim managing director Peter Simpson said in a statement:  “Bmibaby has delivered high levels of operational performance and customer service, but has continued to struggle financially, losing more than £100 million ($161.8 million) in the last four years. In the consultation process, we will need to be realistic about our options.”

Simpson added, “To help stem losses as quickly as possible and as a preliminary measure, we will be making reductions to bmibaby’s flying program from June.” These include stopping all bmibaby flights to and from Belfast from June 11. Bmibaby services from the UK’s East Midlands Airport to Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, Nice, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newquay—and from Birmingham to Knock and Amsterdam—will cease the same date.

“It is proposed that all bmibaby flights departing from Monday, Sept. 10, 2012 onwards will no longer operate.”