The former Maersk Air, reconstituted in a management buyout in June and renamed Duo, announced last month that it has severed its relationship with British Airways, after the UK flag carrier said it would cut in half its operations from Duo’s Birmingham, UK base. Flying as a BA franchisee for the past 10 years, Maersk/Duo will operate independently starting November 1, when it opens its own service from Birmingham to Berlin, Copenhagen, Geneva, Gothenburg, Lyon, Milan, Nice, Oslo, Stockholm, Stuttgart and Vienna with its three Bombardier CRJ200s and five CRJ700s. On the same day, Duo plans to establish a second base in Edinburgh, Scotland, from where it will fly to Milan, Geneva, Oslo and Zurich.
Less than a day after it revealed its plans to cut service from Birmingham, British Airways announced it would relaunch service from the Midlands airport to Stuttgart and Milan on October 26, this time with its wholly owned regional subsidiary, CitiExpress. The plan puts Duo and BA in direct competition on those routes, raising speculation that the airlines’ “amicable” separation could turn less cordial. CitiExpress, the result of BA’s consolidation of British Regional, Manx and Brymon Airways last year, projects an imposing presence in Birmingham, where it maintains a major hub.