The number of passengers flying on bmi airlines grew by 15 per cent to 704,568 in March, compared with the same month in 2002. The load factor for March rose by two points over the previous month to 62 per cent.
bmi mainline services from London Heathrow to Manchester, Edinburgh and Brussels continue to perform well, with the number of passengers increasing by 17 per cent, eight per cent and five per cent respectively.
bmi regional, operating an all jet fleet in niche markets, reports consistent passenger growth on routes from Manchester and Leeds Bradford to Scotland. Services between Manchester and Glasgow rose by 29 per cent, Edinburgh 27 per cent and Aberdeen 13 per cent. Leeds Bradford to Edinburgh grew 27 per cent and Glasgow 12 per cent.
The development of bmi regional services continues to be a prudent business strategy. New initiatives include the start of services between Aberdeen and Norwich, the launch of a Leeds Bradford-Copenhagen route in May and the extension of a weekend service to that of a daily service between Edinburgh and Jersey in May.
The success and development of bmi`s low cost airline bmibaby continues to exceed expectations. Despite the obvious year on year growth from ongoing network development, the low cost formula on routes from East Midlands Airport is proving to be in big demand, where there has been dramatic growth on all routes formerly operated on a full-service basis.
The number of passengers flying from East Midlands Airport to Edinburgh rose by a massive 133 per cent in March over the same month last year, while services to Glasgow grew by 81 per cent, Belfast 80 per cent, Dublin 69 per cent, Nice 156 per cent, Amsterdam 46 per cent and Paris 39 per cent.Ê bmibaby expects to show encouraging year on year increases this month on new routes that were launched by the airline in April 2002.Ê The airline will also benefit from further passenger increases as new services, such as routes from its new base in Manchester, are introduced.
Austin Reid, chief executive officer of bmi, said: “Current trading conditions mean we are seeing a reduction of passengers on some of our mainline operations at London Heathrow.Ê This is due in part to the lower demand for connecting services to longhaul carriers caused by the ongoing conflict in Iraq and more recently the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in the Far East.
“Our strategy of meeting customer needs in a wide range of business streams means that the knock-on effect in the current marketing environment is not as great as if we had a reliance on any single sector.
“However, we are not entirely immune. Whilst figures for the quarter January to March show a passenger increase of 22 per cent over the same period last year, we do anticipate the rate of increase to slow somewhat while current market conditions prevail, and for yields to remain under pressure. However, we are well prepared to meet the challenges that the whole industry faces.”
Developments in March:
á bmi unveiled its £1.5 million investment in dedicated business lounge and passenger facilities at Belfast City Airport, which includes the latest in business technology and a modern air bridge, making the boarding process more efficient.
á bmi launched its credit card, in association with MBNA. Holders automatically become a member of diamond club, the airline`s frequent flyer programme, and earn destinations points with each purchase, which can be redeemed for free flights.
á bmi services from Manchester to the USA came top in the latest findings of Holiday Which? magazine`s listings of airlines serving the USA. bmi toppled Virgin Atlantic from the number one spot, as well as beating other transatlantic carriers such as British Airways and American Airlines. The magazine reports that when asked “would you recommend this airline to a friend?” over half of respondents travelling transatlantic with bmi said they`d definitely recommend flying bmi.
á bmi regional announces it is to start daily services between Edinburgh and Jersey after becoming one of the first airlines to receive funding from a Scottish Executive initiative to encourage the introduction of new direct routes.
á Figures from the Civil Aviation Authority show that, overall, bmi was the most punctual UK carrier during 2002 when compared to British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet and Go across comparable services. Seventy-four per cent of flights took off on time, compare to just 69.5 per cent of low cost carriers` flights. bmi was also more punctual than BA on the majority of head to head routes.
á bmi launches codeshare agreements with Spanair and LOT Polish Airlines, opening up ten new destinations in Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, and Poland. bmi also takes over all LOT`s ground handling requirements at London Heathrow as part of the deal.
á bmi regional starts its new service between Aberdeen and Norwich, an important route for the oil industry. The new route exceeds early expectations.
á bmibaby starts new services from East Midlands Airport to Pisa, and Cardiff to Paris, Munich and Palma Mallorca.