British Midland plc today announced its highest ever turnover and passenger numbers, in reporting its 1999 financial results. Key highlights of the year include:
* turnover increased by 9.8 per cent to £613.3 million (1998: £558.8 million);
* total number of passengers carried increased by 9.6 per cent to 6.5 million (6 million);
* pre-tax profits rose by 22.3 per cent to £13.7 million (£11.2 million).
Sir Michael Bishop, chairman of British Midland plc, said:
“These results reflect satisfactory progress during a period of continuing intense competition on both UK domestic and European routes.
“Key strategic decisions taken in the last quarter of 1999 to introduce a new shareholder, join Star Alliance in Summer 2000 and resume long haul operations in Spring 2001 will fundamentally change the operating profile of the company and significantly strengthen its market position especially at Heathrow.”
Key developments during 1999 included:
* British Midland announced plans to join Star Alliance, the leading global airline alliance in Summer 2000.
* Lufthansa announced it would acquire a 20 per cent stake in British Midland plc. This will be purchased from the 40 per cent stake held by SAS, reducing the SAS holding to 20 per cent.
* 4 new European routes were launched, from Heathrow-Stuttgart; Heathrow-Hanover; Heathrow-Budapest; and East Midlands-Frankfurt.
* a £650 million aircraft investment programme continued, with the successful introduction into * the fleet of five additional aircraft from the Airbus A320 family.
the first three Embraer 145 aircraft were delivered and launched into service, operating throughout the regional network.
* British Midland opened its £15 million training centre at Stockley Close, Heathrow. a number of key appointments were made, strengthening the airline`s senior management team in preparation for the development of long-haul services.
During the first quarter of 2000, passenger numbers grew by 12.4 per cent over the same quarter in 1999.
Sir Michael Bishop continued:
“I am pleased to see passenger growth remaining strong. We are particularly encouraged by growth figures of 32 per cent on Heathrow-Amsterdam, and 18 per cent on Heathrow-Nice, routes on which we face some of our most intense competition.
“This gives clear evidence that competition does stimulate market growth - a point that reinforces our argument that more competition should be brought to transatlantic routes from Heathrow.”
British Midland will launch high-frequency services from Heathrow to Rome, Madrid and Milan (all from 2 May 2000). The airline will formally join Star Alliance, and has also announced plans for greater co-operation with its shareholders, Lufthansa and SAS.
In preparation for the launch of long-haul services in the Spring of 2001, British Midland has also announced orders for up to 12 new Airbus A-330 long-haul aircraft, worth up to £1.2 billion, which will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines.