Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

Jersey to Heathrow air link cut

BMI plane at Jersey Airport
BMI began the Jersey to Heathrow service in 2007

Jersey is to lose its air link between the island and London Heathrow airport after the airline which operates it decided to withdraw the route.

BMI confirmed it was terminating the service from 28 March.

The airline's contract with the States to provide the service had over a year left to run.

But BMI said the economic downturn and cost increases had prevented the route achieving an "acceptable level of financial performance".

from Jersey's point of view it clearly will be a loss
Senator Alan McLean, Economic Development Minister

Peter Spencer, managing director of BMI Mainline, said: "It is with a heavy heart that we have had to make the decision to terminate our Jersey to Heathrow operation.

"The association of BMI with Jersey goes back decades and it is a relationship we are very proud of.

"Despite efforts to modify the service to improve its efficiency through the introduction of smaller aircraft, we see little prospect of profitability being achieved in the foreseeable future."

Jersey's Economic Development Minister, Senator Alan Maclean, said: "We were delighted with the progress of the route, from Jersey's point of view it clearly will be a loss.

"We will look to find a replacement but in the current climate it's obviously unlikely."

BMI began the service in March 2007 after being awarded a five-year contract.

The island had been without a link to the Heathrow hub since British Airways (BA) pulled out in October 2000.

The route was considered important enough for the States to subsidise BMI to run it.

BMI said, where possible, passengers who have booked flights after the service terminates will be contacted with details of alternative travel arrangements.

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