The number of passengers flying on bmi airlines in September rose by 21 per cent to 881,189, compared to the same month in 2002. The overall monthly load factor grew by one percentage point to 74 per cent.
The latest figures put the company on course for a record breaking year, with more than seven million passengers carried in the first nine months of 2003, a 23 per cent increase on the same period last year.
Austin Reid, bmi chief executive, said: “The continued growth in the number of passengers carried each month is set to deliver a record year, and with three months still to go we expect to significantly exceed the 7.5 million passengers carried in 2002.
“Despite increases in passenger numbers, our yields - while still ahead of expectations - remain constrained, reflecting the highly price sensitive nature of all market sectors. Our full service offering at Heathrow is performing well, where we continue to take back market share and restrict growth of low cost carriers in the south on routes to Scotland in particular.Ê There are also encouraging signs in the business and interline sectors which we anticipate will improve now the traditional holiday period has come to an end.Ê However, there is still some way to go.
“Project Blue Sky is now beginning to bring benefits to the business, focusing our efforts on cost reduction and a strict expenditure regime. As part of this, in September we announced an order for four Airbus A319 aircraft, with an option for a further five - a move towards achieving a single aircraft fleet type within the next 18 months, with associated cost savings and increased operational efficiencies.”
The overall load factor for bmi mainline operations out of London Heathrow increased two points to 76 per cent, compared to the same month last year. Routes to both business and leisure destinations continue to show positive performance. The number of passengers travelling on the Brussels route grew by 41 per cent, with Palma up 38 per cent, Manchester 16 per cent, Belfast City and Milan Linate 14 per cent, and Nice eight per cent.
A new route to Tenerife launches on 8 November and advance bookings are running at encouraging levels.
bmi regional, operating an all jet fleet in niche markets, reports continued growth on its routes from Manchester and Leeds Bradford to Scotland. The number of passengers flying between Leeds Bradford and Glasgow increased 20 per cent, and Edinburgh eight per cent. Passengers flying Manchester to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen were up 13 per cent, 12 per cent and seven per cent respectively.
Other key performers included Aberdeen-Esbjerg, up 27 per cent, and Edinburgh-Jersey, which grew by a massive 191 per cent, following an increase to a daily service earlier this year.
This month bmi regional launches services between East Midlands Airport and Brussels.
Passenger traffic and load factors on routes from Manchester to Chicago and Washington remained constant.Ê bmi still remains the market leader on services from Manchester to Chicago.Ê The adverse weather conditions brought about by Hurricane Isabel did result in the cancellation of a limited number of services from Manchester to Washington during the month.
bmibaby, the low cost arm of bmi, continues to experience strong growth across the network. The airline is reaffirming its position as the leading low cost airline, not only in the East Midlands, but the Midlands region as a whole.ÊÊ bmibaby was recently voted “Best UK Low Cost Airline” by readers of a leading national newspaper.
New routes from Manchester to Prague and Barcelona, launched this month, are boosting passenger figures at the airline`s north west base - set to be enhanced further with the start of services to Geneva in December.
bmibaby begins flights from its newest base at Teesside to Belfast, Geneva and Malaga later this month, with Prague, Geneva and Milan added from Cardiff.
developments in September -
á Sir Michael Bishop, bmi chairman, responded to the announcement of an agreement between Air France and KLM by urging the UK Government to take note of the potential impact on Heathrow`s status as a major international hub and the possible threat to the UK air transport industry.
á bmi announced that it is to accelerate the transition to a short haul single aircraft fleet type by taking delivery of four Airbus Industrie A319 aircraft with options for five additional aircraft. The first three aircraft are scheduled for delivery within the next six months and will be available for the 2004 summer schedules commencing March 28 2004. The fourth aircraft is to be delivered early in 2005.
á bmi further underlined its commitment to Northern Ireland by announcing an increase in services between Belfast City and Heathrow. From 1 December until the end of the winter timetable an additional flight will operate Mondays to Fridays, increasing the total number of weekday services from eight to nine. Weekend frequencies will remain at the current levels of seven flights daily.
á bmi regional launched a new early morning service on its Manchester - Glasgow route, departing at 06:55, arriving at 07:55. The introduction of the service followed a decision to base an additional aircraft and crew at Manchester.
á bmi became one of the first airlines to introduce innovative XML technology to its new internet booking engine (IBE). The site now delivers `real time` availability and prices for partner offers, such as car parking, car hire and hotel accommodation, based on the booked itinerary.
á Star Alliance voted `Best Airline Alliance` at the Business Traveller annual awards. Readers of the magazine judged the alliance to be better than its competitors in this year`s poll. bmi has been a member of Star Alliance since 2000.
á bmi began its sponsorship of London Weekend Weather on ITV, with an animated bird sequence featuring the voices of Ray Winston, Penelope Keith, Denise Van Outen, Rik Mayall and Simon Callow.
á bmibaby appointed Joanna Dooley as head of cabin services, overseeing 200 staff at three bases throughout the UK.