British airline BMI to cut 1,500 jobs


Airline BMI British Midland is to reduce staff numbers by up to 1,500 as part of a £100 million cost-cutting drive.

The cutbacks - equivalent to around a third of the airline's workforce - are expected over the next three years.

BMI, which operates a fleet of 41 aircraft, said it would achieve the reduction through staff turnover and had "no intention of axing jobs".

The cost-cutting exercise comes after BMI - controlled by founder and chairman Sir Michael Bishop - made a loss of £19.6 million sterling last year following profits of £12.4 million in 2001.

Many of the jobs will be lost on the ground as the airline simplifies its business practices and encourages passengers to use automatic check-in facilities.

The overhaul comes less than a month after it emerged BMI - based at Castle Donnington, Derbyshire - had discussed a range of "co-operation" issues with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic.

That led to speculation the pair had also discussed the possibility of a merger.