bmi, Heathrow's second largest carrier, has today (18 July) announced that it will serve a new destination as well as introduce major enhancements to its network of services from Heathrow with effect from 28 October this year.

The airline is to launch daily flights from London to the Egyptian capital of Cairo. The new competitive service will be operated by an Airbus A320 aircraft in a two class business and economy configuration.

bmi also announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with EgyptAir, which will see the carriers enter into reciprocal codeshare and frequent flyer agreements shortly. This will enable passengers to benefit from reciprocal flight codes on each airline's flights as well as frequent flyer programme rewards and benefits. Return fares on the new bmi service to Cairo will start from £878 business and £299 economy (including taxes and charges).

Major enhancements for travellers will also take place from 28 October to other destinations newly served by bmi as it commences services at the start of the winter timetable. The Jordanian capital of Amman and the Lebanese capital of Beirut each benefit with an increase in direct frequency, with daily services now available to both locations.

Nigel Turner, bmi chief executive officer said: "The introduction of new competition onto routes has historically invigorated markets and we expect our new competitive service from Heathrow to the Egyptian capital of Cairo to appeal to both leisure and business travellers alike. It is also extremely pleasing that our service to Cairo will be operated in cooperation with EgyptAir. This will enable each of us to benefit from our strengths in our respective home markets to promote and sell seats on each others' services.

"The frequency enhancement to schedules on routes from Heathrow to Amman and Beirut will be welcomed by travellers. Together, these major network enhancements will enable much greater flexibility in planning business travel itineraries

"The new destination, service and frequency enhancements that we are announcing today, together with the full integration of the former BMED network into bmi, represents the biggest expansion that we will have ever undertaken in a single action.

"The number of destinations that bmi will serve from Heathrow at the start of the winter timetable will be 36. This further reinforces our position as Heathrow's second biggest carrier and sends out a clear message of the presence of bmi as a major force within UK aviation both now and in the future."

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