The number of passengers flying on bmi airlines during May grew by 22 per cent to 789,624, compared to the same month in 2002.Ê This is in contrast to a reduction in passenger traffic being experienced by many European airlines.
Austin Reid, chief executive officer of bmi, said: “The overall increase in passengers in May compared to last year is very encouraging.Ê In the five months to the end of May, yields in the full service business have been modestly ahead of our expectations.
“However, the number of passengers carried would have been significantly greater but for the much reduced transfer traffic at Heathrow from our Star Alliance and other interline partners, reflecting the impact of the SARS outbreak and the conflict in Iraq.
“Competition is extremely strong and we have been actively promoting our products and services in a wide range of markets. We are very much focused on the job in hand, which is delivering service and punctuality to our customers; exploring incremental revenue opportunities; keeping costs firmly under control; and reviewing cost reduction initiatives.”
The overall load factor in the full service scheduled operations of bmi (mainline, regional and longhaul) was 65 percent, up two percentage points versus last year.
The start of the traditional holiday season, including two public holidays during May, saw a significant increase in the number of passengers travelling to leisure destinations from London Heathrow.
bmi`s new route to Alicante, launched mid-April, performed strongly, reporting a load factor of 83 per cent, while passenger traffic to Palma grew by 47 per cent. Other routes from Heathrow that experienced passenger growth include Brussels and Belfast City, both up 22 per cent, Glasgow, up six per cent and Edinburgh, up five per cent. The Champions League final at Old Trafford helped boost traffic on the Manchester service, up 27 per cent on last year.
bmi regional, operating an all jet fleet in niche markets, reports a strong start to its Aberdeen-Norwich service, performing well ahead of expectations during its first two months of operation. Routes from Manchester and Leeds Bradford to Scotland performed well, with the number of passengers from Manchester to Aberdeen rising 21 per cent, Manchester to Edinburgh up 15 per cent and a nine per cent increase for Leeds Bradford to Edinburgh.
The number of passengers flying from Manchester to Chicago rose by 11 per cent in May, with the load factor up ten per cent to 76 per cent. bmi is market leader on the route, reflecting the acclaimed levels of in-flight service which continue to be denied to transatlantic travellers from Heathrow under the restrictive Bermuda II Treaty, preventing bmi from operating to the US from its main operational base.
Advance levels of bookings on services from Manchester to both Washington, reintroduced on 1 June, and Chicago are encouraging.
bmibaby services from all departure points - East Midlands, Cardiff and Manchester - are experiencing significant passenger growth.Ê The month saw the airline carry a record 253,000 passengers and bmibaby is on target to achieve a budgeted three million passengers during 2003.Ê
The launch of new services from Manchester in May has been particularly successful.Ê In its first month of operation bmibaby reports load factors of 86 per cent to Murcia, 80 per cent to Malaga and 76 per cent to Alicante.
Cardiff to Malaga reports a load factor of 87 per cent, Cardiff to Alicante 81 per cent.
Routes from East Midlands Airport, formerly operated on a full service basis by bmi, continue to show impressive growth and a number are now more profitable than when operated as full service routes. The number of passengers flying to Brussels rose 43 per cent, Belfast 30 per cent, Dublin 22 per cent, Paris 21 per cent and Jersey 19 per cent.