What next for the bmi staff facing an uncertain future?

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bmi and British Airways planes
1,200 jobs are at risk from the 3,500 strong workforce. Photo: ITV News

As soon as the European Commission gave the go ahead for the purchase of BMI, it was sadly inevitable that some jobs would be lost.

Now the airline has come up with its first best guess for how many redundancies there will actually be.

1,200 jobs are at risk of the 3,500 strong workforce. Talks with the unions start tomorrow about how to make those losses around the country as pain free as possible.

There are hopes that many BMI staff might get equivalent jobs in BA, or at firms they work with, like Rolls Royce. But clearly many jobs will have to go, not least at BMI's Leicestershire HQ.

In terms of which BMI services will go, BA can't say categorically what will stay and what will disappear. They won't get their hands on BMI's books until the deal is finalised, probably next week.

But it seems likely that they'll keep routes like Heathrow to Scottish airports, and to Belfast and Dublin, where BA does not fly. But routes like Heathrow to Nice, where BA also goes, seem likely to disappear.

Yet BMI has been flying to some places like Uzbekhistan and North Africa that BA doesn't cover, so seem likely destinations to stay. Nothing though at this stage is final.

What is also not clear is the fate of the other parts of BMI, BMI regional and BMI Baby, the low cost airline. BA does not want those bits of BMI from Luthansea, the German owner of the whole group.

Luthansea however does want to get rid of them. And it is currently in 'ongoing discussions' about sales, potentially to Scottish investors for BMI regional, based in Aberdeen, or possibly to one of the other low cost operators for BMI baby.

If however, they do not manage to sell them to someone else, as a quirk of the deal, BA may end up taking them on too, but only in return for a hefty discount on the 172 million price tag they have so far agreed.

Sounds odd, but BA would pay less for more. Whether it is BA or others who take them on the 500 or so jobs at those two chunks of the business are not secure.

BA now has three months of talking to the unions about how to manage the change, with the changeover of cabin crews, schedules, and even painting 25 planes expected to be finished up by the end of October.

But with uncertainty about redeployments, routes, and even what is in our out of the deal, there is a lot still that needs to be settled.