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Topic: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: BestWestern
Posted 2007-01-21 12:46:03 and read 5274 times.

Like everything else in the UK, there is too much focus on London, and in aviation - on Heathrow. This has resulted in too much competition for smaller tertiary airlines on routes - sandwiched between two flag carrier or dominant airlines.

BA sees Heathrow as theirs - and are focussing on the airport - retrenching from the regions - and deciding to dedicate themselves on heathrow. With their size, network and brand - they will succeed.

Meanwhile, all other UK (non BA franchise) short haul carriers have either abandoned or are struggling at Heathrow - within the last decade we have seen the loss of KLMuk and (what is now) Flybe flying at heathrow. Flybe sold their slots at heathrow, and used the proceeds to invest in fleet to ensure the future of the airline.

The last standing short haul carrier who still thinks they can succeed at heathrow is bmi. They are struggling, and are surgically cutting both business and leisure routes - we have seen major cut-backs over the last few years - and outside of domestic routes BD is now resorting to a cocktail of low competition, low frequency and seasonal routes - and cutting back high frequency business capitals (CDG, MAD, LIN over the last 12 months). They are also admitting defeat on the leisure routes - (NAP, NCE, ALC) - which have become summer seasonal only.

Yet, BD keep trying to find new routes to fly to. However - their current business model doesnt allow them to compete on price with EasyJet from Luton, or on frequency and feed with BD from Heathrow, and Gatwick. Becoming a scattered - non relevant airline for the corporate market will result in them losing more and more critical corporate contracts, and the loyalty of the diamond club brigade.

Meanwhile - Manchester is Losing British Airways - who will shrink to just two routes - heathrow and JFK. Why dont Bmi take the strategic decision to focus on Manchester.

Allow me to be radical for a moment -

Bite the bullet, and retrench to UK domestic routes at heathrow. Choose a city where Bmi can dominate, and become the key carrier in that city. It has to be Manchester.

Sell the freed Heathrow slots and use the cash generate to pay down debt, and acquire more aircraft.

Shorthaul

Re-brand BmiBaby as Bmi - and focus it on Manchester and Birmingham only
Take the single cabin - low cost with a conscience Business model of BmiBaby, and apply it wholesale to Bmi shorthaul (but permitting connections).
Take the freed A319/320 aircraft, and base them at Manchester .
Build a network of business and leisure routes - at manchester
Birmingham as a secondary base.

longhaul

Using the current long haul fleet - focus on building a network of business routes that utilise the abilities of the 332 - LAX, HKG, CPT, BOM, ORD.

With cash generated from the sale of heathrow slots, acquire more A319's and build a network of high frequency medium haul (AF dedicate-esque) routes to east coast USA, the gulf and west africa. This has to include x3 daily to JFK from MAN.

Feed long haul into short-haul and vice versa.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: BA787
Posted 2007-01-21 13:01:46 and read 5252 times.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
Meanwhile - Manchester is Losing British Airways - who will shrink to just two routes - heathrow and JFK. Why dont Bmi take the strategic decision to focus on Manchester.

You could be right, but I dont see it happeneing. I dont think BD have too much of a problem @ LHR, they seem to have a big market share and can be competitive when compared to BA, so I doubt they would abandon LHR completely.

BD will struggle @ MAN, especially if flyBe take over BAs routes and use MAN as a new base. At least at LHR BD can offer the lowest fares, something which it would struggle to do at MAN, it would be faced with LS and flyBe, a force I wouldnt tackle with. A lot of carriers are reducing ops @ MAN, MAN is becoming quite the international HUB, as opposed to domestic and European, and the domestic and European services are mainly "LCC".

I doubt BD will move to MAN, and if they do, they will not leave LHR

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: David_itl
Posted 2007-01-21 13:12:02 and read 5237 times.

Quoting BA787 (Reply 1):
A lot of carriers are reducing ops @ MAN

Going off the last year or so, I can think of only:
AZ (and they also canned thier BHX route)
SQ (appears to be a temporary thing)
MH (money problems and using wrong aircraft for route)
AA to MIA (seasonal and not picking up any cruise contract to get a flow of pax on the route)

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: LHRjc
Posted 2007-01-21 13:15:19 and read 5237 times.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
Sell the freed Heathrow slots and use the cash generate to pay down debt, and acquire more aircraft.

Alternatively, would they be better off waiting for Open Skies and then using these slots for long haul, and moving short haul ops to MAN / EMA ?

JC

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: BestWestern
Posted 2007-01-21 13:44:56 and read 5191 times.

Quoting BA787 (Reply 1):
I dont think BD have too much of a problem @ LHR

BD are losing money at heathrow, and struggling to make any new route work for them. They are having huge problems at Heathrow.

Quoting LHRjc (Reply 3):
would they be better off waiting for Open Skies and then using these slots for long haul

Opensikes will make the Heathrow USA market even more competitive - just like the semi liberalised UK India market - where BD just couldn't compete.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: BCAL
Posted 2007-01-21 14:25:09 and read 5117 times.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
Why dont Bmi take the strategic decision to focus on Manchester.

I read that comparing figures at LGW with LHR

  • Average loads are below 60% compared with above 70%
  • Scheduled services generate a 20% lower revenue
  • Scheduled services generate a 25% lower yield
If these are the figures for LGW, the UK's second airport, then surely figures for MAN are worse. Besides, in the south east (outside the M25 area) LGW is the only main international airport whereas MAN probably competes with LHR, Birmingham and STN for the same catchment area. So unless any airline at MAN has a lower cost base and offers attractive fares, or perhaps are able to supplement passenger revenue with cargo, then surely any airline at MAN must face an uphill struggle to be successful.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Aisak
Posted 2007-01-21 14:53:42 and read 5080 times.

From my point of view, BMI hasn't accepted its role in a global alliance.

They're basicly a short-haul airline. If you have 3 widebodies you just can't split them between LHR and MAN. Besides, if you don't have rights from LHR to USA and other Star carriers serve Heathrow well..... Feed them (and offer their passengers more destinations). Also Virgin, who can fly to (most of) the USA from LHR.

On the other hand, you can build a strong base at MAN with several destinations (including USA) and a strong network ex-MAN to avoid connecting at LHR. Problem: FlyBE thought it first and will be in an advantageous position once BAcon merges with them.

Should there be a niche market which could be served ex-LHR, do it with wet-leased aircraft (just like it's doing right now with TUI for flights to JED)

That's my piece of advice... BMI should find its own place, not trying to be everywhere.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: BMED
Posted 2007-01-21 14:59:56 and read 5070 times.

Quoting Aisak (Reply 6):
Should there be a niche market which could be served ex-LHR, do it with wet-leased aircraft (just like it's doing right now with TUI for flights to JED)

I don't think though that this has done the reputation of bmi any good though. If you are a regular traveller on the route and you soon pick up on the fact that the aircraft you are flying on is not the airlines and standards are lower would you carry on flying with the company.

Maybe to try and compete better the company could look at using its regional product better? I've flown on regional routes a number of times and think its a great product. Maybe see regional compete more at EDI/GLA and MAN and open up some more domestic flights or switch some routes from mainline to regional and increase the frequency. LHR-INV maybe 3x daily with regional? I know that there is the problem of slots but then thats always going to be an issue. Then as people have said in past posts the airline could open up more feedingtraffic to its SA partners long haul routes. Just my thoughts.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: MainMAN
Posted 2007-01-21 15:18:22 and read 5028 times.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
Take the freed A319/320 aircraft, and base them at Manchester .
Build a network of business and leisure routes - at manchester
Birmingham as a secondary base.

Great plan in general with the possible exception of this. I don't see a place at MAN or BHX for UK based A319/320s, unless part of a big niche hubbing operation, like Finnair at Helsinki, or KLM's transatlantic services via AMS.

They'd be chasing after the same passengers as EZY and FR at neighbouring LPL and EMA, and that may be too hard.

Most of us old enough to have witnessed decades of acquisitions, mergers and bankruptcies (BR, DA, AE etc) are starting to realise that BD at LHR is not a sustainable thing.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Timboflier215
Posted 2007-01-21 15:24:30 and read 5012 times.

bmi need more long-haul a/c to make use of their LHR slots. They own 18% of the slots and have what, 2 long-haul a/c based there?! They need to build up a proper long-haul network that will make use of the feed from their short haul services. And they need to give up chasing low fare paying leisure pax - how they can hope to compete with easyjet, ryanair et al is beyond me - their cost base must be astronomically higher than the true LCCs. They once provided true competition with BA in terms of price and service. I think they could do so again.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Pe@rson
Posted 2007-01-21 15:27:39 and read 5007 times.

From my perspective, BD now lacks credibility. Certainly, I once had pretty good flights with them from MAN to EDI/GLA and from LHR to AMS/MAN.

It seems clear to me that BD has lost focus and is searching around a dark room for the light switch when barely awake: it just can't find the switch, the key to being fully awake. It's fazed: what do I do? It decides what to do but each idea fails. In the end, it'll collapse, exhausted, onto the bed and return to sleep - forever

BD really needs to regain complete focus, hugely rationalise (cut the crap, majorly streamline), pay off its debt, and to completely re-brand itself. It needs to concentrate on one thing and not to dilute its product which greatly affects its core business. How easy is it for BD to change in such major ways? It seems clear that it needs fresh, competent management that are proven to be excellent at resuscitating failing airlines.

True value is far more than just about fares: its about true convenience, quality, usability (e.g. by using technology and innovation to reduce time spent at airports and the resulting annoyance and hassle, e.g. by offering online check-in, seat assignment, etc), customer care, overall experience, and many more things.

I think there will come a time when customers realise that they're getting something which isn't good - cheap, yes, but not exciting, memorable or enjoyable. BD should become very customer-centric - that'd make a change in Britain - and deliever true value to everyone all of the time and in every way - and not just compete on price, as is very often the case nowadays. It's about gaining sustainable competitive advantages - not just short-term gains by, for example, unsustainable price reductions. And it is certainly possible to greatly control costs without negatively affecting your product.

What routes from both MAN and BHX were you thinking about?

On a different topic, do you know what market share BD presently has on LHR-DUB, BHD, GLA, EDI, ABZ and AMS?

[Edited 2007-01-21 15:34:48]

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Candid76
Posted 2007-01-22 11:25:07 and read 4742 times.

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 10):
It seems clear to me that BD has lost focus and is searching around a dark room for the light switch when barely awake: it just can't find the switch, the key to being fully awake. It's fazed: what do I do? It decides what to do but each idea fails. In the end, it'll collapse, exhausted, onto the bed and return to sleep - forever

Until it is kissed by the prince - who I suspect will be wearing a beard

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Jacobin777
Posted 2007-01-22 11:42:34 and read 4723 times.

Quoting BCAL (Reply 5):
If these are the figures for LGW, the UK's second airport, then surely figures for MAN are worse.

BD's MAN-ORD is one of their most profitable routes..even with daily competition from AA and 2x/weekly PK (which offer great J-class fares on the route)...

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Kevin777
Posted 2007-01-22 11:51:00 and read 4704 times.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
Sell the freed Heathrow slots.

No. 1 priority, yes. Maybe not all of them, but a lot - other airlines can put them to much better use, and hence are willing to pay much more for them than what bmi can ever gain on them themselfes. I searched for a ticket from GLA I thínk it was to PMI or AGP last summer, and was offered a bmi routing via LHR - an absolute waste to spend the world's most precious slots routing low-yields from the UK to Spain.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
Shorthaul

Re-brand BmiBaby as Bmi - and focus it on Manchester and Birmingham only
Take the single cabin - low cost with a conscience Business model of BmiBaby, and apply it wholesale to Bmi shorthaul (but permitting connections).
Take the freed A319/320 aircraft, and base them at Manchester .
Build a network of business and leisure routes - at manchester
Birmingham as a secondary base.

I could agree a lot with you here.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
longhaul

Using the current long haul fleet - focus on building a network of business routes that utilise the abilities of the 332 - LAX, HKG, CPT, BOM, ORD.

With cash generated from the sale of heathrow slots, acquire more A319's and build a network of high frequency medium haul (AF dedicate-esque) routes to east coast USA, the gulf and west africa. This has to include x3 daily to JFK from MAN.

Feed long haul into short-haul and vice versa.

But not so much here though... The UK has two excellent long-haul carriers; VS and BA; I don't think there is space for one more, even if it tries to find a niche at MAN. bmi should drop their long-hauls, and possibly keep up some slots at LHR to feed into VS.

Kevin777  Wink

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: 777236ER
Posted 2007-01-22 12:08:07 and read 4684 times.

Quoting Candid76 (Reply 11):
Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 10):
It seems clear to me that BD has lost focus and is searching around a dark room for the light switch when barely awake: it just can't find the switch, the key to being fully awake. It's fazed: what do I do? It decides what to do but each idea fails. In the end, it'll collapse, exhausted, onto the bed and return to sleep - forever

Until it is kissed by the prince - who I suspect will be wearing a beard

Lol.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: StarGoldLHR
Posted 2007-01-22 13:19:09 and read 4625 times.

Quoting BCAL (Reply 5):
If these are the figures for LGW, the UK's second airport, then surely figures for MAN are worse. Besides, in the south east (outside the M25 area) LGW is the only main international airport whereas MAN probably competes with LHR, Birmingham and STN for the same catchment area. So unless any airline at MAN has a lower cost base and offers attractive fares, or perhaps are able to supplement passenger revenue with cargo, then surely any airline at MAN must face an uphill struggle to be successful.

Why would any London Airport compete with MAN ?
If I live in MAN, I wouldnt drive to london to fly unless there was no alternative.

To Me MAN could compete much more effectively for Connections than London any time.. it just needs to be someones hub, but as a starting point for a journey MAN only competes with Liverpool, and LBA not london.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Lite
Posted 2007-01-24 21:05:11 and read 4408 times.

The problem with Manchester compared to London is yield, the airline simply cannot get the same yield out of a full aircraft at MAN that they can at LHR. Now I've always found that surprising, given that they'd have a monopoly on these routes, eliminating the need for people to drive to London or fly via a hub, but apparently this is the actual case. There clearly is a market though, as other airlines are managing to fill it, and I agree that it's a shame bmi didn't put as much effort into Manchester as they could have done, now allowing low-cost start-ups or foreign airlines to take the traffic instead.

I would say more, but for me Pe@rson's post adequately describes my views on bmi. They are a fantastic airline in terms of their staff who work very hard with what they're being given with, and this is echoed both at bmi regional and bmibaby. The problem is a management team who don't seem to have any direction, and have thus let the competition eat at them from all angles. I don't see Virgin as the saviour in all of this, they have very little interest in the shorthaul market and SMB would never sell to SRB from the little leaks that I've seen. At the same time, perhaps the purchase of BMED (if it really goes ahead) would be a great thing for bmi to transfer themselves into some sort of BCal operation, flying to all the kinds of oil rich destinations, BA themselves could not or would not fly to. Don't know where that'd leave baby and regional, but it seems promising.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Sam1987
Posted 2007-01-24 21:56:25 and read 4352 times.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
Like everything else in the UK, there is too much focus on London, and in aviation - on Heathrow.

Well, it is the capital city! It makes sense.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
Manchester is losing British Airways - who will shrink to just two routes - Heathrow and JFK.

More than two routes: JFK, LHR, LGW, HER, MLA, PFO, SZG and TFS.

Quoting Aisak (Reply 6):
BMI should find its own place, not trying to be everywhere.

I agree with that. I'd say they should reduce their operation at LHR to a few vital connections for Star Alliance, and concentrate most of their operations in MAN. They should keep bmi regional though.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: David_itl
Posted 2007-01-24 22:01:51 and read 4335 times.

Quoting Sam1987 (Reply 17):
HER, MLA, PFO, SZG and TFS.

BA? No. GT? Yes. There *is* a difference!

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Sllevin
Posted 2007-01-24 22:03:58 and read 4332 times.

Quoting BestWestern (Reply 4):
Opensikes will make the Heathrow USA market even more competitive

Actually, Open Skies would be a huge windfall to BMI -- they have plenty of slots and could easily jump into the US market -- in fact, I would forsee BD dropping out of Star at that point because of the direct conflict they'd have with United, where they would be offering an inexpensive Business product to pack people in.

Steve

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: BMED
Posted 2007-01-24 22:25:01 and read 4306 times.

Quoting Sam1987 (Reply 17):
They should keep bmi regional though

I agree, its a great product that could compete better from airports across the UK into MAN or EDI.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Sam1987
Posted 2007-01-24 22:30:47 and read 4298 times.

Quoting David_itl (Reply 18):
BA? No. GT? Yes. There *is* a difference!

Not to your average passenger there isn't.

Same livery, same uniform, same interior, same inflight magazines, same flight numbers....

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: BrianDromey
Posted 2007-01-24 22:50:35 and read 4273 times.

If BD were to aquire BMed, I think the whole carier would need to be reshaped. I believe that BD would be far better off getting closer to VS and doing a lot of codeshaes on the domestic routes, leaving most of the Euro runs to *A carriers and to BA. The ashes of BMed could be combined with a slimmed down bmi operation at LHR to leave a mainly long-haul, high yeild, but low volume runs, on the 320/321 and the domestic product. VS could look after the long hauls, ot teh east and west.

I also think that bmi mainline could learn a lot from the WW operation, in terms of turn around times and so forth. I think it would be better for bmi to merge its MAN operations with WW and create a strong airline there. All the 332s should move up to MAN as well. BMI would be free to create the type of hub at MAN that it has not managed to create @ LHR. Many airlines fail because their employees are inept, scruffy, or just plain rude, this is not the case with the bmi group. The managment needs to get their house in order.

AND; for what its worth, I feel bmi should include "british midland" in the title again. Its classier and has more meaning than "bmi"

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Lite
Posted 2007-01-24 22:51:35 and read 4273 times.

Quoting Sllevin (Reply 19):
Actually, Open Skies would be a huge windfall to BMI -- they have plenty of slots and could easily jump into the US market -- in fact, I would forsee BD dropping out of Star at that point because of the direct conflict they'd have with United, where they would be offering an inexpensive Business product to pack people in.

The problem with Open Skies, despite bmi having the slots, is that once it's revealed, every airline & their regional subsidiary, are going to be clamouring for a piece of the action, which will plunge yields right down. Also, bmi simply does not have the product or brand to be able to compete with the flag carriers (BA & the American big six) or Virgin Atlantic to compete.

Quoting Sam1987 (Reply 17):
They should keep bmi regional though.

bmi regional have the kind of product that British Midland used to operate across their network, and had they kept with it, would probably be far more profitable than they are today. I think Sir MB would be wise to run it as a profitable regional airline under the British Midland brand perhaps. The boat is still out on bmibaby in my mind.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: LAXdude1023
Posted 2007-01-24 22:52:05 and read 4268 times.

Quoting BestWestern (Thread starter):
Using the current long haul fleet - focus on building a network of business routes that utilise the abilities of the 332 - LAX, HKG, CPT, BOM, ORD.

I would LOVE to see BMI out here at LAX. I think LAX-MAN would be a good addition to the BMI long haul!!!

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Gkirk
Posted 2007-01-24 23:17:21 and read 4245 times.

BD have 2 chances outside of LHR...
MAN or EDI...

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: BestWestern
Posted 2007-01-26 18:18:51 and read 4136 times.

Quoting Lite (Reply 23):
The problem with Open Skies, despite bmi having the slots, is that once it's revealed, every airline & their regional subsidiary, are going to be clamouring for a piece of the action, which will plunge yields right down.

Exactly - for example - DL are already planning for this eventuality. BD failed with the liberalisation of India - and they will fail with open skies.

Quoting Sam1987 (Reply 17):
More than two routes: JFK, LHR, LGW, HER, MLA, PFO, SZG and TFS.

And how many of the GT routes are required by the average business traveller?

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Cainanuk
Posted 2007-01-26 22:59:51 and read 4016 times.

Quoting Sllevin (Reply 19):
in fact, I would forsee BD dropping out of Star

Three words matey...

Hell. Freeze and Over. Star is one of the biggest things BD has going for it. Would never happen. Not so long as BD owns 14% of the LHR slots.

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: Jacobin777
Posted 2007-01-27 00:13:57 and read 3962 times.

Quoting Cainanuk (Reply 27):
Not so long as BD owns 14% of the LHR slots.

Sell part of them, get some new widebodies, and start some routes out of MAN (as well as make MAN their "fortress")....

Topic: RE: Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?
Username: JonnyWishbone
Posted 2007-01-27 00:22:28 and read 3947 times.

Should the topic not be Does BMI have a future?

Never have I seen such a messed up airline, so beautiful to look at, a masterpiece of rebranding, but inconsistant beyond belief:

LHR with business
LHR no frills
LHR to Moscow with more room
LHR Longhaul
LHR Longhaul on someone else's 767 with half the frills
MAN Longhaul full frills
MAN Longhaul but cant cope with northerners having more than a beer so you have to pay
BMI regional

They have occasional gems, like the club chef, brilliant, but no consistency. Dropping IAD just as they got the loads over 90%... classic. Not having a spare plane, thus pi**ing off all your passengers... classic.

I don't profess to being an expert, but all this diversity makes the airline a joke and the so called 'tiny' fares are so far and few that we all end up paying £ 300 to fly LBA-LHR and dont even get a cuppa tea.

Exactly the same reason by BACON has gone by the wayside - I still pay £ 600+ for a MAN-TXL flexible ticket, just like I did before and have to rely on top class thieving skills from the lounge to feed myself, thus getting more and more hacked off and deserting the airline for a full frills carrier.

Take note BMI and get consistant or get out


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