British Mediterranean Airways

airline=British Mediterranean Airways
callsign=BEE MED
headquarters=London, United Kingdom
key_people=Chief Executive - David Richardson
hubs=London Heathrow Airport
focus_cities=| frequent_flyer=Executive Club
lounge=Terraces Lounge
website= [*/] (defunct)

British Mediterranean Airways Limited, trading as BMED, was an airline based at London Heathrow Airport in England. It operated scheduled services as a British Airways franchise to 17 destinations in 16 countries throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia from London Heathrow. In February 2007, the airline was purchased by bmi. The airline was a British Airways franchise until the night of 27 October 2007.

The company held a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence permitting it to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats. [ [ Type A Operating Licence Holders] ] The licence was revoked on 31 January 2008. [Civil Aviation Authority Consumer Protection Group Official Record Series 2 Number 1835, 5 February 2008 (ISSN 0306-4654)]


British Mediterranean Airways was established in 1994 by a group of private investors and began operations on 28 October that year with an Airbus A320, flying from London Heathrow to Beirut, the Lebanese capital. Damascus in Syria and Amman in Jordan were added to the network the following year, and the airline began flying a fortnightly charter service to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan.

In March 1997 the airline reached an agreement with British Airways, with BA withdrawing its competing services to Beirut, Damascus and Amman, leaving British Mediterranean as the sole operator on a BA franchise basis. Under this agreement the airline traded as British Airways, with all flights operated under BA flight codes (the range BA6500-6669 are allocated to BMED flights). All BMED aircraft were presented in full British Airways livery, appointed with the same interior and class product as the BA main fleet, and staff wore the BA uniform. BMED flights were booked through British Airways and the airline participated in BA's Executive Club and BA Miles programme. BMED was an affiliate member of Oneworld.

With the franchise agreement, British Mediterranean's operations moved from Heathrow's Terminal 3 to Terminal 4, allowing greater integration with the BA network. The airline greatly benefited from the franchise arrangement, taking over unprofitable BA mainline services better suited to BMED's lower cost base, to destinations such as Baku, Tehran, Addis Ababa and Almaty. British Mediterranean also launched a number of routes on its own, backed by the global sales and marketing of British Airways, as well as feeder traffic to and from Heathrow.

British Mediterranean Airways rebranded as BMED in November 2004, stating that the shorter name and revamped logo would help strengthen the airline's image.

In 2004 BMED carried 277,000 passengers on its 6 aircraft, to 18 destinations in 17 countries. (At that time BMED had flights to Tashkent, Uzbekistan)

In January 2007 BMED was bought by UK Airline bmi. The decision by bmi marks a change in strategy with the airline now focusing on more medium to long haul routes. BMED routes will work alongside bmi's medium haul routes from Heathrow. The British Airways franchise was stopped at the night of October 27, 2007, when the airline was fully absorbed into bmi branding. All the existing BMED planes will re-painted in bmi livery and the staff will wear bmi uniforms, and the flight numbers will carry bmi's standard BD prefix. They will also continue to use the British Airways (BA) code-share designation. As part of the deal to buy BMED, bmi sold the BMED Heathrow slots to British Airways for £30 million. These are due to pass to British Airways in late 2008/2009.

On 12 March 2007, it was revealed that the airline was flying a "ghost flight" between London Heathrow and Cardiff International Airport six times a week. No seats are sold for the flight, and it is not announced in arrivals or departures, or on airport information screens. The flight is only made in order for BMED to retain a valuable take-off slot at London Heathrow, unused since it scrapped flights to Uzbekistan. Airlines with landing rights at London Heathrow are liable to lose them if they do not make at least 80% use of their allocation over a six-month session. [" [ BBC News- Green anger at 'ghost flights'] ," "BBC"]

On 5 April 2007, G-MEDL was used to return 15 British Navy personnel captured by Iranian forces from Tehran to London Heathrow.

At the end of October 2007 BMED was absorbed into bmi and ceased to be a British Airways franchise carrier.

Former destinations

BMED served the following on behalf of British Airways, from their Hub at London Heathrow Airport.

*Africa: Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Dakar, Freetown, Khartoum
*Caucasus: Baku, Tbilisi, Yerevan
*Central Asia: Almaty, Bishkek, Tashkent
*Middle East: Aleppo, Amman, Ankara, Beirut, Damascus, Tehran
*Russia: Ekaterinburg

Incidents and accidents

On 11 March 2005 a British Mediterranean Airbus A321 was involved in a serious incident while approaching Khartoum Airport, Sudan. The pilots were unaware of a significant discrepancy between the approach parameters on the approach chart and those within the navigation database because they had not compared the two data sets before commencing the approach. Subsequently confusion regarding the correct approach profile and inappropriate autopilot selections led to an unstable approach, which was continued below Minimum Descent Altitude without the landing pilot having the required visual references in sight. The crew executed a go-around, but the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) “TERRAIN AHEAD, PULL UP ” audio warning was triggered and the minimum recorded terrain clearance achieved during the recovery manoeuvre was only 121 ft. Following this serious incident, significant safety action was taken by the operator and the CAA. The UK AAIB made four safety recommendations. [cite web |url= | title=Airbus A321-200, G-MEDG | work= UK AAIB | accessdate= 2007-12-06 ]


The BMED fleet consisted of the following aircraft (at 27 October 2007)

*3 Airbus A320-200: G-MEDE, G-MEDH, G-MEDK.
*5 Airbus A321-200: G-MEDF G-MEDG G-MEDJ G-MEDL G-MEDM (further 5 on order)These aircraft are now owned by bmi


External links

*wayback||British Mediterranean Airways official website archive
*wayback||Impressions Magazine inflight magazine

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