Sale of bmi Regional completed
The sale of the regional division of BMI to the UK consortium of investors, Sector Aviation Holdings Ltd. by IAG (British Airways) has now been completed in a deal that secures the future of the bmi Regional brand and business and sees the airline continue as an independent entity.
Future plans including the likely strengthening of the head office function at East Midlands Airport with the creation of up to 40 new jobs in sales, customer service and finance as well as maintaining the operating centre in Scotland.
Ian Woodley, who becomes Chairman of bmi Regional under the new regime, said: “We are continuing with the existing route network while BA will provide support during the transitional phase of the operation and we will be working closely with them to ensure as seamless a transfer as possible.
“I would also like to reassure our many customers, who will have naturally been wondering what the future holds during what has been a very uncertain period, that it is very much business as usual including the retention of the BMI brand and existing services.
“This is a great company with fantastic people and my colleagues and I are immensely proud to have concluded the acquisition of an organisation that is held in such high regard throughout the United Kingdom and beyond.”
Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, said: “I very much welcome the fact that bmi Regional has found a buyer and that existing routes and jobs will be saved. It is also extremely positive news that up to 40 new jobs look likely to be created at East Midlands Airport following investment by the new owners.”
Ken O’Toole, Chief Commercial Officer, MAG, owner of East Midlands Airport commented: "Today’s news that jobs are protected and the airport's connections to Brussels and Frankfurt will be maintained is extremely positive.
“The airport is the region's gateway to Europe and preserving routes to major European hubs is vital. bmi Regional recognises the importance of global connectivity and, in turn, the benefits this brings to businesses in the region. We are now looking forward to working closely with the new owners, to build on the strong operation we already have at East Midlands Airport and develop the network further.”
Ian Woodley and colleague Graeme Ross, who will oversee business development, know the business well, having founded its predecessor Business Air, which was sold to British Midland in 1996 while Robert Sturman, who has held a number of senior positions within the industry, is also part of the management team which had been in negotiation with IAG/BA, and previously Lufthansa, since the autumn of last year. He assumes the role of CEO.
Sector Aviation, the company acquiring bmi Regional, is being funded by Stephen and Peter Bond who have extensive aviation investment experience including Scottish regional Loganair and Alliance in Australia.
bmi Regional operates over 600 flights a week throughout the UK and Europe, many in partnership with SAS, Lufthansa, Brussells Airlines and Swiss and was recently voted the UK’s most punctual airline for the seventh year in a row.
While the immediate future will witness little change to the day to day operations of the business, as Ian Woodley confirms, the new owners will be exploring new opportunities for bmi Regional: “It is very much our aim to develop the network in both the UK and Europe and with the future now secured and that uncertainty removed, we can look ahead with confidence,” he said.
“These are exciting times and underpinning all that we are planning is the fact that bmi Regional’s customers will continue to benefit from our convenient schedules, a wide choice of destinations within the UK and Europe and a high level of service and punctuality.”
Published on: 01/06/2012 13:30:32