British Airways has abandoned proposals to operate its services to the Levant under a franchise agreement with British Mediterranean Airways (BMed), and both carriers say that they will continue to serve the Middle Eastern region independently.

The two airlines struck a deal to operate joint services to Amman, Beirut and Damascus in August, after enduring a battle to establish dominance on the routes (Flight International, 18-24 September, P9). BA was keen to maintain its presence in the market, despite the fact that operations were said to be loss-making. For BMed, which operates a single Airbus A320, the Levant services represent its entire network, and the airline saw the link-up with BA as the means of expansion. No specific reasons have been given for the division, only that BMed had been unable "-to meet all of the conditions of the franchise agreement". BMed admits that its own expansion plans have been "put on hold".

BA Express operator GB Airways has begun operating domestic Spanish services, initially between Valencia and Jerez. The Gibraltarian carrier is operating the intra-Spanish route as an extension of its Gatwick-Valencia service.

Source: Flight International