The number of passengers flying on bmi airlines in June rose by 31 per cent to 857,264, compared to the same month in 2002. The monthly load factor grew by five points to 73 per cent.
In the first six months of 2003 passenger traffic increased 23 per cent over the first half of 2002 to 4.3 million.
Austin Reid, bmi chief executive officer, said: “The overall increase in passengers in June compared to last year, together with growth in the first half of the year, is very encouraging.Ê The start of the holiday season is providing an increase in the number of leisure travellers, and we are also seeing some signs of encouragement in what are traditionally business routes.
“Despite increases in passenger numbers, both for the month and the first half of the year, our yields - whilst still ahead of our expectations - reflect the highly competitive nature of the market. The complete overhaul and radical changes we made to our fare structure last year are now ensuring that at Heathrow in particular we are taking back market from the low cost carriers in the south. However, the number of transfer passengers we receive at Heathrow from our Star Alliance partners and other interline partners continues to be depressed following the impact of SARS and the conflict in Iraq.
“Our strategy of competing in a wide range of markets and our focus on a rigid cost control regime ideally places us to meet the challenges of an industry that is having to reinvent itself.”
The overall load factor for bmi`s mainline operations out of London Heathrow grew by five points to 75 per cent in June, compared to the same month last year.
Routes out of Heathrow continue to show encouraging performance, with passenger increases across services to both business and leisure destinations. The Alicante route reported a load factor of 90 per cent for June. The number of passengers travelling to Palma rose by ten per cent with significant increase on other key routes from Heathrow to Brussels (50 per cent), Manchester (39 per cent), Belfast City, (30 per cent) and Amsterdam (14 percent).
The number of passengers flying Edinburgh to Jersey increased by a massive 118 per cent, following the introduction of daily flights on the route, formerly a Saturday-only service. bmi regional, which operates an all jet fleet in niche markets, introduced the expanded service in May after becoming one of the first airlines to receive funding from a Scottish Executive initiative to encourage the development of new direct routes.
Services from both Manchester and Leeds Bradford to Scotland continue to perform strongly. The number of passengers travelling from Leeds Bradford to Edinburgh rose by 37 per cent and Glasgow by 38 per cent. Passengers flying Manchester to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen were up 35 per cent, 29 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.
Passenger volume on the Aberdeen-Norwich route was much stronger than forecast.
Services between Manchester and Washington were successfully reintroduced on 1 June following a break over the winter period and levels of advance bookings are encouraging. The number of passengers travelling Manchester to Chicago grew by 12 per cent in June, with the load factor rising nine points to 85 per cent. bmi remains the market leader on services between Manchester and Chicago.
bmibaby, bmi`s low cost airline, carried a record 266,035 passengers in June, a 153 per cent increase over the same month last year. While ongoing network development provides an element of growth, routes from all departure points are also experiencing significant increases in passenger numbers.
In its second month of operations from Manchester bmibaby reports load factors of 85 per cent, 84 per cent and 80 per cent for Malaga, Murcia and Alicante respectively.
Cardiff to Malaga had a load factor of 91 per cent in June, followed by Alicante, 88 per cent, and Palma, 86 per cent.
Routes from East Midlands Airport, formerly operated by bmi on a full service basis, continue to show impressive growth. The number of passengers flying to Edinburgh rose by 96 per cent, Belfast 46 per cent, Glasgow 38 per cent, Dublin 33 per cent, Paris 30 per cent and Amsterdam 26 per cent.