Main content
Transport
admin
01st January 1970

British Airways have serious questions to answer on bmibaby withdrawal

The new owners of BMI, British Airways parent company IAG have some very serious questions to answer regarding the bmibaby closure in Northern Ireland on the 11th of June 2012 according to the Consumer Council.

Chief Executive of the Consumer Council, Antoinette McKeown said,

“The new owners of bmibaby, British Airways now have very serious questions to answer regarding their treatment of Northern Ireland consumers and we are demanding answers on passengers’ behalf.”

“Why did British Airways not give passengers sufficient warning that they were withdrawing bmibaby from Northern Ireland? When did they take this decision?

“Why are British Airways withdrawing bmibaby from Belfast in advance of the busy holiday season when other bases around the UK are to stay open until the autumn?”

“Why will it take up to 21 days to refund the cost of flights?  The CAA have indicated to us that the airline is obligated under EU law to make this repayment within seven days.”

“Why do bmibaby say that may be a delay in getting through to their helpline? An inability to get through to the airline is causing even further unnecessary distress for consumers.”

“The Consumer Council is also asking is the Belfast City to Heathrow route safe? The Consumer Council wrote to Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG in December and again in March seeking a guarantee on the Belfast City to Heathrow route pointing out the potential impact on Northern Ireland air passengers.  We have yet to hear a reply on the issue.”

“The Consumer Council has three clear demands for British Airways. They must provide refunds to passengers within 7 days; dramatically increase their call centre staff to deal with customers; and give an immediate and clear guarantee on the future of the Belfast City to Heathrow route.”

“This is a poor day for the owners of British Airways. The Consumer Council raised the implications on the takeover of BMI and British Airways last December with the IAG’s Chief Executive Willie Walsh.  The airline has failed in its statutory obligations to inform the Consumer Council of their intentions to cease operating from Northern Ireland.”

“British Airways must address their obligations to Northern Ireland passengers as a matter of urgency.”

“If consumers are having problems getting through to the bmibaby call centre, the Consumer Council Centre is available to provide advice on 0800 121 6022 from 9am – 5pm.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

o   Passengers who have booked a package holiday that includes a flight with the airline will also be protected under the ATOL scheme and should contact their travel agent.

o   Consumers can also contact the Consumer Council Contact Centre on 0800 121 6022 from 9am – 5pm for more information or by downloading Plane Facts at http://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/publications/?id=795

o   ATOL is a scheme that protects consumers on package holidays and some flights from the insolvency of their tour operator or travel agent.  It is run by the Civil Aviation Authority.

o   All BMI Baby flights to and from Belfast will cease from 11th June 2012. Passengers who have booked to travel after 10 June 2012 should contact BMI baby on Tel: 0844 245 0055

Belfast Routes affected:

Alicante. Amsterdam. Birmingham. East Midlands. Faro. Ibiza. Mahon in Menorca. Malaga. Palma. Stansted

ENDS

1.   Consumer Council media contact: Suzanne Collins, telephone, 028 9067 4817/07799032203 or e-mail scollins@consumercouncil.org.uk

2.   The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland’s consumers. The Council campaigns for high standards of service and protection and a fair deal for all. It also carries out research, gives advice and publishes reports and other publications. It deals with individual complaints about buses, trains, planes, ferries, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.

For more information, visit our website at www.consumercouncil.org.uk

Topics