|Company slogan||Streamlined for business|
|Parent company||Sector Aviation Holdings Limited|
|Headquarters||East Midlands Airport|
|Key people||Ian Woodley (Chairman)
Cathal O'Connell (CEO)
British Midland Regional Limited (trading as bmi regional) is a British regional airline that operates scheduled passenger services across the UK and Europe. The airline's head office is in East Midlands Airport in North West Leicestershire, with its registered office and operations control located at Aberdeen Airport. The airline has operating bases at Aberdeen, Bristol, Chester Hawarden, East Midlands, Newcastle and Stavanger.
BMI Regional is a former subsidiary of British Midland International (BMI), which was purchased from Lufthansa by International Airlines Group (IAG) on 20 April 2012. BMI Regional was sold to Sector Aviation Holdings in May 2012 and has operated as an independent airline since October 2012.
The airline was established in 1987 as Business Air and started operations in August 1987. In 1999 Business Air was purchased by British Midland and became British Midland Commuter. In 2001 it changed its name to bmi regional.
As a subsidiary of BMI, BMI Regional was previously owned by Sir Michael Bishop (50%), Lufthansa (30%) and Scandinavian Airlines (20%). Lufthansa purchased Sir Michael Bishop and SAS' stakes in October 2009, taking full ownership of the airline group. A restructuring of the group was announced the following month, which also affected BMI Regional's operations. A suspension of loss-making routes and capacity adjustments within the group resulted in BMI Regional having a surplus of three Embraer aircraft in 2010, and the company began consultations with staff over possible job losses. The excess aircraft were leased to other carriers.
BMI Regional was acquired by Sector Aviation Holdings, a company predominantly owned and funded by Stephen and Peter Bond, whose family sold helicopter operator Bond Aviation Group in 2010. Sector Aviation Holdings also include the founders of bmi regional's predecessor Business Air, Ian Woodley and Graeme Ross. The sale was formally announced on 1 June 2012.
In 2014 BMI Regional was named the most punctual scheduled airline in the UK for the ninth consecutive year. Based on Civil Aviation Authority statistics, the airline achieved an on-time performance of over 92% in 2013.
Since being founded as Business Air, the company have always had their Operations Control Centre located at Aberdeen. The current building is shared with CHC Helicopter who utilise the hangar space for helicopter maintenance and storage for their North Sea fleet. The building is located on the east side of Aberdeen airport between the Airport Fire Service and Bond's main passenger terminal.
Following the purchase of bmi regional in May 2012, Sector Aviation Holdings took the decision to relocate the company headquarters from Aberdeen to Pegasus Business Park, on the grounds of East Midlands Airport. Whilst a subsidiary, some head office functions were provided by British Midland International at their head office in Donington Hall, Castle Donington. Despite the relocation, bmi regional still maintains a presence in the village of Castle Donington through the current head office.
Since becoming an independent airline, bmi regional has changed its callsign from "Kittiwake" to "Midland" and on 28 October 2012 announced that it would be using "BM" as the company IATA airline designator in place of the previously used "BD" which belonged to British Midland International.
bmi regional’s two main operating bases are Aberdeen Airport and Bristol Airport. On 23 January 2014, bmi regional launched a new domestic operation in Norway with an aircraft based in Stavanger. This new service provided the first scheduled direct air link between Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes and Stavanger.
Along with the current operating bases, bmi regional previously had numerous bases throughout the United Kingdom with crew stationed at Edinburgh Airport, Glasgow Airport, Leeds Bradford Airport, Manchester Airport and London Heathrow Airport. All of these bases had bmi regional routes operated from them along with routes on behalf of British Midland International (BMI), Heathrow which was solely mainline routes. A base at Birmingham Airport opened during May 2013, but on 28 October 2013 it was announced that following a network review the base would close at the end of December 2013.
Using their Embraer 145 aircraft, bmi regional operate a number of shuttle services on behalf of aircraft manufacturer Airbus. These link manufacturing sites at Broughton, Filton and Toulouse. Despite previously having crew based at Manchester Airport and no scheduled services operating from Chester Hawarden, bmi regional based crew at Hawarden for the Airbus shuttle flights. Originally the Airbus shuttle operated to Filton Aerodrome but following its closure in December 2012, the shuttle operation transferred to Bristol Lulsgate in January 2013. This had no impact on crew as they were already based at Bristol.
In early 2014, bmi regional commenced a contract to operate a further staff shuttle on behalf of helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland. This shuttle was previously operated by Eastern Airways using an Embraer 135 between Milan Malpensa and RNAS Yeovilton. bmi regional will continue to operate between Milan and Yeovilton but will use the larger Embraer 145.
Heavy maintenance on the bmi regional Embraer fleet is carried out by OGMA at their maintenance facility in Alverca, Portugal. bmi regional maintenance is primarily carried out at its hangar facilities at Aberdeen. The engineering facility at Aberdeen are also contracted to carry out line maintenance on Airbus aircraft for easyJet and also for the Virgin Atlantic Little Red service operated by Aer Lingus.
Along with line maintenance stations throughout its network, bmi regional also have a secondary maintenance base at Bristol where a large proportion of their fleet operates from. Despite being a competitor, bmi regional regularly lease hangar space to Flybe for maintenance requirements of their fleet, of which varying Flybe aircraft can be seen parked outside the bmi regional hangar at Aberdeen.
A testament to the quality of bmi regional engineering is shown by the airline having the world’s best dispatch reliability rate of Embraer 135/145 aircraft.
As a subsidiary of British Midland International, the airline operated regional services for its parent. Since becoming independent of BMI, the airline has completed an entire network review which has resulted in numerous route and base closures along with the introduction of a number of new routes during 2012 and 2013.
bmi regional operate scheduled services to over 20 destinations throughout continental Europe including Scandinavia and also United Kingdom. Commencing 30 March 2014, the start of the IATA Northern Summer Season 2014, the airline will operate a scheduled service on behalf of Brussels Airlines between Brussels and Bristol. Previously, bmi regional have also operated a scheduled service on behalf of Brussels Airlines between Brussels and Newcastle. The airline also operate a scheduled service between Kristianstad and Stockholm on behalf of Swedish regional airline Flyglinjen.
At present, bmi regional have codeshare agreements in place with other airlines. bmi operates codeshares with Lufthansa on its routes from Bristol to Frankfurt and Munich. They also operate a codeshare with Brussels Airlines from Newcastle to Brussels.
bmi regional also regularly operate holiday charter flights over the summer months. These destinations have included Bastia on the island of Corsica on behalf of specialist tour operator Corsican Places, from Bristol, and Verona from Bristol on behalf of another specialist tour operator Inghams. During 2011 bmi regional aircraft operated, on behalf of BMI, direct flights between London Heathrow and Beja in the Alentejo region of Portugal for Sunvil Discovery.
When bmi regional started operations as Business Air in 1987, they had a fleet of Swedish built two-engine turboprop Saab 340s. At the time, they also converted them for nightly mail flights before returning them to passenger configuration for scheduled services during the day.
For a short time, bmi regional operated an ATR 42-300 between Leeds Bradford airport and London City airport. To date, this is bmi regional’s only operation that has involved London City Airport. The present fleet of aircraft are still to be certified for the steep approach required for landing at London City.
The current fleet consists solely of Embraer Regional Jet aircraft, a mix of ERJ-135 and ERJ-145 variants. All of the bmi regional fleet are powered by Rolls-Royce AE 3007 engines. Of the current aircraft in the fleet, only four ERJ-145’s are not in full livery – these operate in an all-white scheme with bmi regional titles only.
Since 2012, bmi regional management have stated numerous times through various press interviews that they are planning to explore the option of introducing larger aircraft to the fleet. During a media briefing at the 2012 European Regional Airlines Association general assembly in Dublin, bmi regional Executive Chairman Ian Woodley was quoted; "We still feel the [ERJ]-145 has a role to play in the short- to medium-term. We will look at things at the back end of next year to perhaps increase the fleet with larger-capacity aircraft." At present, no specific aircraft type has been specified.
bmi regional do not operate a cargo fleet and at present no longer operate nightly mail flights.
As of February 2014, the bmi regional fleet includes the following aircraft;
|Year||Total Passengers||Total Flights||Load Factor||Passenger Change YoY|
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- Lufthansa buys final 20%
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- "G-INFO UK Register Database". Civil Aviation Authority. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
- "UK Airline Statistics | Data | Economic Regulation". UK CAA. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
Media related to BMI Regional at Wikimedia Commons