Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
Bmi regional maintains its fleet increase to 20 Embraer aircraft by the end of this year, will allow it to address the increasing needs of business travellers to avoid transiting via major hubs.
Outlining his vision today (9 May) at the company”s Aberdeen headquarters, bmi regional managing director, Stewart Adams (pictured), elaborated why he felt the eventual Embraer fleet ” 17 ERJ 145s and three ERJ 135 aircraft ” fitted both his airline model and business traveller requirements. ”We see opportunities where the Embraer aircraft can be successful and the Board have said they are looking for us to grow.”
Despite launching a raft of new services recently such as: Aberdeen-Khristiansand, Aberdeen-Brussels, Edinburgh-Zurich, Manchester-Lyon, Leeds Bradford-Copenhagen and Leeds Bradford-Lille, Adams batted away suggestions that the recent demise of BA Connect and its absorption into Flybe, was the spur to new aircraft acquisition.
”We can”t afford to become fixated with Flybe and BA Connect ” we have our own business to run ” it is a different model,” said Adams. ”We are interested spectators with Flybe [but] they were fairly critical of the ERJ 145 ” we know the thing inside out ” we specialise in it.
”We are a business airline, we are about fast track, airport lounges, access to the bmi Diamond Club, and as we are part of the Star Alliance, there are myriad airlines with which to redeem points.”
Fleet expansion has also permitted some creativity outside the traditional business waves that typically see banks of aircraft arrive in numbers first thing in the morning and at close of business play, as bmi regional commercial director Peter Kenworthy outlined: ”This year we have also had more middle of the day availability on the fleet, which has thrown up more capacity to launch business niches, such as Edinburgh-Zurich and Aberdeen-Brussels.”
And Kenworthy also revealed that bmi regional was in the middle of an aircraft audit programme that could yet see additions to the Embraer fleet. ”It is no secret that we are in a tender programme to evaluate 70 to 120 seat aircraft,” he said, adding: ”We are part of that process. You can stay true to a single fleet or look to a larger type.”
Bmi regional also cannot escape the current climate of environmental pressure that appears to be firmly aimed at the air travel industry and to that end, has devised a novel approach to reducing emissions at airports.
”The environment is a very, very important subject and at bmi regional, we have introduced a new concept known as single engine taxi,” said Adams. ”Instead of burning both engines, we taxi on take-off or landing, closing down one engine.
”If it saves five minutes over 30,000 sectors per annum that is significant ” we do our best and the green issue is not going to go away.”
But Adams was less convinced that the recent doubling of Air Passenger Duty (APD) to ”10 ($20) would contribute to major environmental improvements, although he did concede that in price sensitive markets trade has been affected. Both easyJet and Ryanair have reported recent load factor falls.
”How much of APD money will go back to the environment? Probably very little,” he said.
And Adams was at pains to point out the prime reason why the bmi regional model appeals to business travellers on routes such as Aberdeen-Manchester, where frequency is now at seven daily rotations. ”We have invested heavily in online check-in, lounges, fast track, fast bag drop, self-printing boarding cards and punctuality.”
”We operate 79% of flights within one minute, 85% within five minutes and 91% within 15 minutes. It”s all about focus ” we are not going to stand still.”