bmi regional charts new path as nimble, independent operator.

Thursday 20th September 2012

ERA General Assembly, Dublin. bmi regional, now privately owned by Sector Aviation Holdings Ltd, (SAH) and with a strong new management team headed by Executive Chairman Ian Woodley, will start flying under a new 'BM' IATA designator to an expanded route network on Sunday, 28 October, the airline confirmed today in Dublin.

Speaking at the European Regions annual General Assembly as the latest ERA airline member, Ian Woodley confirmed the carrier will add new regional routes between Aberdeen and Bristol and Manchester and Antwerp, both twice daily, from 29th October. The new services bolster the bmi regional network to 11 European and four domestic routes.

With a 400-strong workforce and headquarters at East Midlands and Aberdeen airports, bmi regional is now close to concluding a five-month transition process to establish its independence from bmi. Projects include replacing all the IT systems and creating new commercial and financial structures better geared to its independent status. Leading this challenging transitional process and also present at ERA is Cathal O'Connell, formerly with Aer Lingus, Aer Arann and Eastern Airways, as Chief Commercial Officer.

Business Air was sold in 1996 to the Airlines of Britain Group and later became part of Lufthansa-owned British Midland, and its fleet evolved from Saab 340 turboprops to Embraer 135 and 145 jets. After a protracted year of negotiations with Lufthansa and IAG, Ian Woodley, with the support of Stephen and Peter Bond, both with extensive aviation interests including Loganair, Scotland's regional airline, led the deal to buy back the regional business on 1 June this year.

The deal also secured the future rights to the BMI brand, including the highly popular bmi regional brand, to operate as an independent entity.

"Free from the ties of big carrier ownership and practices we are emerging as a flexible, streamlined, nimble and forward-thinking regional airline with the ability to act quickly to launch new route opportunities and explore new business opportunities in the sector," Ian Woodley said.

While finalising the transition period, the airline is also in an advanced stage of further expanding the route network into 2013 and bmi regional will be at the World Route Development Forum (World Routes) in Abu Dhabi next week to meet with airports and airlines.

  • Keen to explore ad hoc charter and ACMI support with Embraer jets:

The company is also keen to explore the opportunity to place more of bmi regional's Embraer 135 and 145 capacity into the ACMI, corporate and ad-hoc charter markets, building up its position as a key supplier to third party operators.

Now a new airline member to ERA, bmi regional will be exploring, with interested airlines, its ability to offer short and long term charter contracts, or full ACMI support. It plans to work closely with Embraer and lessors in this drive.

bmi regional currently has two Embraer 145s operating on ACMI contracts with Brussels Airlines out of Bristol and Newcastle and five with BA/bmi on London Heathrow routes, both due to finish later this year.

In addition to providing capacity to airline partners, bmi regional also provides corporate charter services, including two Embraer 145s running a corporate shuttle for Airbus to Toulouse out of Bristol and Chester.

It also has a significant ad hoc charter operation; including carrying no less than nine English Premier League football teams to matches in the coming months.

Also at ERA this week bmi regional is showing its new corporate logo, which will be complemented by new cabin crew uniforms to be unveiled soon, a fresh new marketing and PR campaign 'Streamlined for business' designed by M&C Saatchi.

  • About bmi regional:

Headquartered at East Midlands and Aberdeen Airports, with 400 staff, bmi regional operates 14 49-seat Embraer 145s and four Embraer 135s, with 37 seats. In Europe, the airline offers services to Groningen, Esbjerg, Brussels, Copenhagen, Zurich, Frankfurt, Lyon and Antwerp (new). Domestic routes include Aberdeen to Manchester, Norwich and Bristol (new) and Manchester to Edinburgh.

The airline is fully IOSA accredited, and has crew bases in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, East Midlands, plus ACMI bases in Newcastle, Bristol, London Heathrow and Chester.

By continuing to use this site you agree to the use of cookies. For more information and to find out how to change this click here