Bmibaby

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bmibaby
Bmibaby.png
IATA
WW
ICAO
BMI
Callsign
BABY
Founded 24 January 2002
Commenced operations 22 June 2002
Ceased operations 9 September 2012
Operating bases
Frequent-flyer program Diamond Club
Fleet size 14
Destinations 42
Parent company British Midland International
Headquarters Donington Hall (HQ)
Castle Donington, England, United Kingdom[1]
Key people Wolfgang Prock-Schauer (CEO)
Stefan Lauer (Chairman)
Peter Simpson (Managing director)[2]
Website www.bmibaby.com

Bmibaby Limited (styled as bmibaby.com) was a British low-cost airline that flew to destinations in the UK and Europe from its bases at Birmingham and East Midlands airports. It was a subsidiary of British Midland International, itself wholly owned by International Airlines Group (IAG). Bmibaby's head office was at Donington Hall in Castle Donington, North West Leicestershire, England.[1]

bmibaby held a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, and was permitted to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[3]

Following the takeover of BMI and its subsidiaries by IAG in April 2012, it was announced on 3 May 2012 that Bmibaby would be shut down in September 2012, with many flights ceasing to operate with effect from 11 June.[4] Bmibaby's final flight, from Málaga to East Midlands, operated on 9 September 2012.

History[edit]

The airline was established on 24 January 2002[5] and began operations on 22 March 2002 with a flight between East Midlands and Málaga.

Boeing 737-500 taxiing in 2009

Continued expansion for the airline led to it opening further bases at Cardiff in October 2002,[6] Manchester in May 2003,[7] Durham Tees Valley in October 2003,[8] Birmingham in January 2005.[9] and Belfast City Airport in March 2012. Insufficient passenger numbers led to the closure of the Durham Tees Valley base in 2006,[10] followed by both Cardiff and Manchester in 2011 to make way for expansion in the Midlands and the new base at Belfast City.

On 1 March 2007, the airline announced an initiative for business travellers with an "only choose what you need" approach, allowing passengers to choose from a range of services such as ticket flexibility, executive lounge access and on-line check in, and only pay for the services they used. The company also announced that BMI's frequent flyers could now gain Diamond Club miles.[11]

By 2007, Bmibaby had nine Boeing 737 aircraft based at Birmingham Airport, making it their biggest base, however in December 2008 the airline announced that it would be suspending five routes from the airport as a result of a reduction in the number of customers booking city-breaks.[12]

Boeing 737-300 departs Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 2012

Further cuts were announced in November 2009 when it was announced that the fleet would be reduced from 17 to 12 aircraft in 2010, with up to 158 jobs at risk of redundancy.[13] The airline said the action was necessary to stem record losses and that it would focus on growth routes best fit for the business.[14]

In April 2011, Bmibaby announced it would close its bases at Cardiff and Manchester Airports in October 2011 to increase services at Birmingham and East Midlands Airports as well as opening a new base at Belfast City Airport, moving from Belfast International Airport where the airline was based for several years.[15]

Donington Hall, the head office of Bmibaby

In May 2011, Bmibaby launched what it called the first European airline loyalty programme tied into a location based social network. Passengers use the Gowalla smartphone application at Bmibaby check-in desks to collect points.[16]

On 22 December 2011, IAG announced it had agreed a contract with Lufthansa to buy BMI. The contract allowed for Lufthansa to sell BMI Regional and Bmibaby separately before the completion of the main sale, although the price payable by IAG would be reduced if the airlines were not sold.[17] On 2 February 2012, BMI announced it had signed a "non-binding and non-exclusive" agreement with a "UK-based company", with plans to complete the sale by the summer of 2012.[18] The sale was not completed by the time IAG purchased BMI, and so Bmibaby and BMI Regional became part of the group. IAG said it would continue the attempts to sell both airlines.[19]

However, on 3 May 2012 IAG announced that it had not found a buyer for Bmibaby and that it was proposing to shut down the company by 9 September 2012.[20] Flights to some destinations such as Belfast, Amsterdam, Paris and Geneva ended on 11 June 2012.[4] All remaining services ended by 9 September 2012. The final flight to operate was flight WW5330 from Malaga to East Midlands. Over 800 jobs were lost by the closure, including 400 at the head office in Castle Donington.[21]

Destinations[edit]

Main article: Bmibaby destinations

Fleet[edit]

Boeing 737-300 landing at Barcelona El Prat Airport in 2010

As of September 2012,[22] the Bmibaby fleet consisted of the following aircraft in an all-economy class configuration:

Bmibaby Fleet
Aircraft Total Passengers
(Economy)
Average Age (years)[23]
Boeing 737-300 12 148 15.7
Boeing 737-500 2 131 19.1
Total 14 - 15.2

Several aircraft had names with the word baby in the title. After all flights ceased, the aircraft were placed in storage at Norwich International Airport and Lasham Airfield. The majority of the airline's fleet was leased. As of February 2014, all but five had been transferred to other airlines; the remaining aircraft remained in storage.[23]

Onboard services[edit]

Boeing 737 at Geneva Airport

Bmibaby offered a buy on board programme with variety of items to purchase including scratch-cards, tax-free shopping and onboard drinks and snacks. The shopping range included items such as jewellery and fragrances, gifts and travel accessories. On non-EU flights, duty-free priced cigarettes and spirits could be purchased. Drinks and snack items included hot and cold drinks, alcoholic and soft drinks as well as crisps, sandwiches and confectionary. The drinks and snack menu was named the Tiny Bites menu. The Bmibaby inflight magazine was known as Yeah baby!.

The majority of Bmibaby's cabins had shaded blue leather seating with a 29/30" seat pitch. Extra legroom seats could be found on the front rows and on over-wing exit rows of all the Bmibaby 737 aircraft.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "About us". Bmibaby. Retrieved 1 January 2012.  (Archive)
  2. ^ "BMI Baby to stop Belfast flights from 11 June". BBC News Online. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Operating Licence
  4. ^ a b "Low fare airline bmibaby to close". Press Association. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  5. ^ UK Companies House Company #03259921
  6. ^ bmibaby to serve nine destinations from Cardiff Airport[dead link]
  7. ^ Passenger numbers soar 400% at bmibaby
  8. ^ bmibaby chooses Teesside for new low-cost base
  9. ^ bmibaby confirms first nine European routes from Birmingham Airport
  10. ^ bmibaby to end Durham Tees Valley operations[dead link]
  11. ^ bmibaby joins Diamond Club : Birmingham Airport News Stories
  12. ^ David Irwin (1 December 2008). "Sixty five jobs go at bmibaby". Solihull News. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Low-cost airline cutting 158 jobs". BBC News Online. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Bmibaby to focus on growth routes
  15. ^ "Bmibaby to stop flying from Cardiff and Manchester". BBC News Online. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  16. ^ Laura O'Reilly (3 May 2011). "Bmibaby launches Gowalla loyalty scheme". Marketing Week. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "Binding Agreement for bmi purchase". International Airlines Group. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "Bmi closes in on sale of Bmibaby". Business Traveller. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2012. 
  19. ^ "BA owner IAG doubts it can sell BMI Baby and Regional". BBC News Online. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "Important information for customers". Bmibaby. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  21. ^ "BMI Baby will fly for the final time today". ITV News. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  22. ^ CAA database - Bmibaby Fleet
  23. ^ a b "bmibaby Fleet Details and History". Planespotters.net. 21 February 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2014. 

External links[edit]