At the North Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce business gathering, Tony Davis managing director of bmibaby, spoke of the identity problems geographical regions face and in particular the confusion over where East Midlands Airport is actually situated. He also called for improved public transport links at East Midlands Airport.
Tony Davis, managing director bmibaby said:
“We still see passengers coming to cities in our area traveling via Birmingham because they can see where it is on a map. Not so for East Midlands Airport. I don`t have a magic solution by any means and I`m clearly aware of the rivalry between our leading local cities, but we must all be aware that every airport in the world that is named after a region rather than a city, suffers from confusion regarding its location.
“I think that we can all acknowledge that even those of us who live and work in the East Midlands, sometimes struggle to clearly define our regional identity - the facts are clear, attracting inbound passengers to an airport which is not named after a city is extremely difficult.
“Considering and agreeing whether the airport should have a new name will be extremely tricky and perhaps we should call upon the areas businesses and residents to come up with the answer. Indeed any suggestions that are sent into me via my website, www.bmibaby.com I will gladly pass onto the airport owners.”
During his speech, Tony confirmed that he had written to The Manchester Airport’s Group, owners of East Midlands Airport, about the issue of the name of the airport. In his letter Tony pointed out the problems of ownership - when the airport was owned by five local authorities, who would probably not want to see the name of a rival city as the airport`s name - no longer existed.
“Having launched nine new routes and visited the destinations to promote inbound services to the UK by bmibaby, we are consistently finding that there is a complete lack of awareness of the location of East Midlands Airport.
“I hope I have done my bit to kick start the education process in two of our destinations. Earlier this month The Sheriff of Nottingham accompanied me on a press trip to Prague and just this week I returned from Nice with The Mayor of Derby and the Tourism Manager for Derby.”
In addition to discussing the specific location problem the airport suffered from both abroad and at home, Tony raised concerns over the lack of any comprehensive public transport links to the airport. He also noted that although East Midlands Airport is the regional international gateway it fell well short of Birmingham and Manchester in terms of its integrated transport infrastructure.
“bmibaby has shown we can deliver more passengers to East Midlands Airport, now we must all work as a community to ensure that our region has a truly integrated transport infrastructure to meet this growth bmibaby is fueling.”