09/09/2012: Bmibaby Ceases Operations

The final flight of low-cost carrier Bmibaby touched down today at East Midlands in 2012.



September 9, 2023

DALLAS — Today in Aviation, the final flight of low-cost carrier Bmibaby (WW), 'The Airline With Tiny Fares', touched down at East Midlands (EMA) in 2012.

Bmibaby, styled as bmibaby.com, was closed after its parent company British Midland International (BD) was taken over by International Airlines Group (IAG). IAG attempted to sell the subsidiary but no buyer could be found.

The airline was branded "The Airline With Tiny Fares." This included its mascot known as 'Tiny' who appeared in the carrier's early livery and advertising. Photo: By Maarten Visser from Capelle aan den IJssel, Nederland - G-BVZE B737-500 BMI Baby, CC BY-SA 2.0

An Airline Within an Airline

Created in January 2002, WW was BD's attempt to take on the growing number of low-cost airlines.

From its initial EMA hub, further bases were opened at Cardiff (CWL) in October 2002, Manchester (MAN) in May 2003, Durham Tees Valley (MME) in October 2003, Birmingham (BHX) in January 2005, and Belfast City (BHD) in March 2012.

In a shift from its leisure focus, WW announced in March 2007 that it would turn its attention to the growing number of business travelers using the airline. A range of services was offered including ticket flexibility and lounge access. They could also earn miles on parent company BD's 'Diamond Club' frequent flyer programs.

Birmingham Airport (BHX) was the airline's largest base, and within three years of opening its base, WW had become the airport's biggest operator. Photo: 1997 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Operational Changes

But the 2008 global economic recession hit hard and the airline was forced to reduce its fleet from 17 to 12 aircraft. It then closed its CWL and MAN bases in 2011. This was to allow for expansion at its BHX and EMA bases. The MME base closed in 2006, citing low passenger numbers.

Throughout its ten-year history, WW operated an all-Boeing 737 fleet. It operated both the -300 and -500 series, many of which were transferred over from its parent's mainline fleet.

Featured image: Boeing 737-300 G-TOYM had originally served with British Airways' low-cost subsidiary Go Fly before joining WW in August 2008. It now operates for Jet2.com. Photo: By Martin Woudstra - Airliners.net, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20018673