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BMI seals code share agreement with EgyptAir - Daily News Egypt

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BMI seals code share agreement with EgyptAir

CAIRO: BMI – the second largest airline at London Heathrow – has recently sealed a reciprocal code share agreement with EgyptAir on flights between London and Cairo, and launched Nov.4 a daily non-stop service between the two cities. “We’ve been looking at Egypt for a number of years . London has a population of 15 …

CAIRO: BMI – the second largest airline at London Heathrow – has recently sealed a reciprocal code share agreement with EgyptAir on flights between London and Cairo, and launched Nov.4 a daily non-stop service between the two cities.

“We’ve been looking at Egypt for a number of years . London has a population of 15 million, and Cairo has a population of 15 million. Only two daily flights between Cairo and London [leave the market] underserved in economic terms, explained Nigel Turner, BMI chief executive officer. “Normally markets of that size can have 8-12 rotations. Therefore, we decided to come in here and offer BMI competition with EgyptAir and British Airways.

The new service flies on an Airbus A320 seating 20 passengers in business and 108 in economy. It also offers competitive fares for passengers, with the economy class starting at LE 2,859 and business class at LE 6,759.

“Not only are we going to be cheaper, but we will also get you there on time and with all your bags, Turner said.

The code share agreement effectively doubles the number of non-stop services available to 14 each week with schedules designed to offer customers optimum flight times. Daily flights depart from Cairo at 16:50 arriving in London at 20:10 and depart from London at 9:15 arriving in Cairo at 16:00.

“Egypt is a fantastic market, with great economic growth. Lots of people want to come to Egypt for tourism and business, and lots of people want to come to London for tourism, medical care, and business, he added. “Therefore, it’s natural for BMI to want to enter the market.

Code sharing is part of a cooperative services agreement between two or more carriers, allowing airlines to extend their reach into cities or routes beyond those they actually serve. A flight operated by an airline is jointly marketed as a flight for one or more other airlines. It also allows airlines to earn revenue by selling tickets on a partner s flight.

Code share agreements provide customers with better connecting flights and clearer routing, as cooperating airlines strive to synchronize their schedules and coordinate luggage handling, which makes transfers less time-consuming.

Moreover, code sharing increases frequency of service on routes. Most major airlines today have code sharing partnerships with other airlines, and it is a key feature of major airline alliance.

The partnership between BMI and EgyptAir will also see later this month the airlines’ frequent flyer programs offering members reciprocal benefits, including the ability to earn miles on all flights.

“Through this agreement, customers of both airlines will have double daily flights between the two capital cities with mutually-coordinated timetables, thus continuing the strategy of providing the widest choice, most convenient services and added benefits to our customers, said Atef Abdel Hamid, chairman and CEO of EgyptAir.

“With the strategic location of Cairo, this cooperation will be positioned to create a new hub for our partner’s customers with a strong gateway for Middle East and Africa.

The agreement came at a very convenient timing for EgyptAir, as it is currently trying to expand its horizon to become a Star Alliance member, which in its turn will improve quality of its services and expand the size of its business.

Star Alliance is the first truly global airline alliance to offer customers worldwide reach and a smooth travel experience. Its members include Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Austrian, BMI, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, SWISS, United, and US Airways. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers more than 16,000 daily flights to 855 destinations in 155 countries.

Egypt has been given the green light to join Star Alliance last October and expects to become an official member within a year.

“Part of becoming a Star Alliance member is to compete and form agreements with other Star Alliance members, said Turner. “EgyptAir is coming into Star Alliance and has [therefore] started becoming more outward.

EgyptAir, he added, now wants to become much more competitive to get the Star Alliance membership and build the EgyptAir quality brand.

“There is real enthusiasm for Cairo to become the hub airport in North Africa, and EgyptAir wants to become the hub airline in North Africa. And for any hub to work, it needs very strong links with other hubs.

BMI’s total investment in the deal totals $35 million embodied in its aircraft. The company sees potential in Egypt’s airline market and is looking for a very quick pay back on its investment, possibly by the end of its first year of operation in Egypt.

“The market is evolving. It is certainly not saturated and not full of competitors, but there is a lot of growth, and there is certainly a lot of growth in passenger carriers to come, Turner pointed out.

“We will certainly get a share of the market. We’ve got no doubt that wherever we go, we always do well against competition because we go on time: we have great connections, great level of services, very competitive fares, and good flight schedules.

With the largest source of tourists in Egypt coming from the UK, Turner believes there is continuous heavy demand on London-Cairo route and is confident the one more service will not float the market.

BMI is also seeking to become a major player in the Middle East and North Africa region. It currently serves some eight MENA destinations from Heathrow Airport, which probably makes it the largest Middle Eastern carrier out of the UK. It currently operates flights to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and Israel (in summer 2008), among others.

Topics: FJP

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