bmi british midland, the UK`s second largest airline, today took delivery of its first Airbus A330-200 long-haul aircraft at Manchester International Airport. The aircraft, the first of three to be delivered this month, will commence transatlantic services to Washington D.C. on 12 May 2001. The deliveries are part of an order made in February 2000 for four Airbus A330 aircraft, with options for a further eight, worth a total value of £1.2 billion.
Sir Michael Bishop, chairman bmi british midland, unveiled the aircraft prior to a celebratory VIP flight. The aircraft will be introduced on bmi british midland`s first ever scheduled service long-haul route between Manchester International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. A second aircraft will come into service from 8 June, to operate the daily service between Manchester and Chicago O`Hare.
The acquisition of the new aircraft is part of a series of strategic business initiatives, which also include the new brand positioning and a new corporate identity unveiled earlier this year.
The launch of services from Manchester to the US by bmi british midland will contribute substantially to the economic regeneration of the North West and neighbouring regions. bmi british midland`s investment of £10 million in arrivals, departure lounges, passenger connection links, additional staff and check-in facilities will contribute to the overall growth of Manchester airport. It is predicted that the airport’s economic input to the region will rise to £1.1 billion, compared to £600 million three years ago.
Speaking today at Manchester International Airport, Sir Michael Bishop, chairman bmi british midland said:
“By choosing Airbus and Rolls Royce for our long-haul aircraft, bmi british midland has shown commitment to British industry and British jobs.
“This is a very important day in the history of bmi british midland. The arrival of our first ever wide-bodied aircraft is the final piece in the jigsaw enabling bmi british midland to compete globally. We have already demonstrated and gained recognition for our outstanding service on short-haul routes and now we will prove that we can deliver the same high quality product on long-haul services. This is only the start of our ambitions to bring the values of bmi british midland to markets throughout the world, in association with Star Alliance.
“The new route from Manchester International Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport will be the first direct link between the two cities and services to Chicago O`Hare will provide much-needed competition between the UK and the US. It is scandalous that we cannot provide that level of competition, and our innovative service, for transatlantic passengers flying from London Heathrow. bmi british midland will not stop fighting until there are fully open skies and free competition on transatlantic routes from London Heathrow.”