bmi british midland has announced further details of the business review which has been in progress since July.
Since the tragic events of 11 September, there has been a reduction in business class travel, a migration to the economy cabin and lower levels of interline and transfer traffic throughout the network. Overall the total number of passengers carried in September 2001, was only 4.5 per cent lower than the previous year, but the company expects the full impact of changing market conditions to become apparent in the final quarter of this year. Consequently, bmi will implement a 20 per cent reduction in seat capacity for the winter 2001/2 timetable period commencing on 28 October 2001.
Up to eight aircraft, out of the fleet of 62 will be withdrawn from service and full details of new schedules will be announced within two weeks.
Sir Michael Bishop, chairman bmi, said, “Our intention is to operate lower capacity aircraft wherever possible and to maintain the present network. We will increase frequencies or capacity only when strategic opportunities occur. The airline industry is in a volatile phase at the moment and it is impossible to predict if our prospects will deteriorate or conversely be improved by the actions of other carriers. As always, we shall be highly flexible in our response.”
The withdrawal of the aircraft from the fleet will regrettably incur a reduction in the work force throughout the entire infrastructure of the business. The airline is in discussions with the relevant trade unions and with those employees likely to be affected. It is expected that up to 600 jobs could be lost across the company`s entire network, from a workforce of 5,500.
The airline is informing employees that it will consider applications for voluntary redundancy or for periods of unpaid leave of absence, however, bmi cannot guarantee that all such volunteers can be accepted because of the operational and administrative requirements of the business. The airline is doing all possible to reduce the number of involuntary redundancies.
Sir Michael Bishop concludes, “I am hopeful that because of the business decisions that we have been taking for some time to reduce our cost base, we will not need to consider further job losses. However, worldwide events continue to have a serious impact on the aviation industry in general, and we will continue to review our situation on a regular basis.”