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Is The Future Of Bmi In Manchester?  
User currently offlineBestWestern From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2000, 7304 posts, RR: 57
Posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 5314 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.


The world is really getting smaller these days
29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBA787 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2006, 2596 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 5292 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


User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7442 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 5277 times:
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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)


User currently offlineLHRjc From Netherlands, joined Apr 2006, 1964 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 5277 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



"Our 319's are very reliable. They get fixed very quickly."
User currently offlineBestWestern From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2000, 7304 posts, RR: 57
Reply 4, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 5231 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.



The world is really getting smaller these days
User currently offlineBCAL From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2004, 3384 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 5157 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.



MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
User currently offlineAisak From Spain, joined Aug 2005, 763 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 5120 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.


User currently offlineBMED From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 860 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 5110 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.



Living the jetset life! No better way to be
User currently offlineMainMAN From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 2115 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 5068 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.


User currently offlineTimboflier215 From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 1344 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 5052 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.

User currently offlinePe@rson From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 19259 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (7 years 11 months 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 5047 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]


"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
User currently offlineCandid76 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 743 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4782 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


User currently offlineJacobin777 From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 14968 posts, RR: 59
Reply 12, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4763 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)...



"Up the Irons!"
User currently offlineKevin777 From Denmark, joined Sep 2006, 1167 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4744 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



"I was waiting for you at DFW, but you must have been in LUV" CPH-HAM-CPH CR9
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 4724 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.


User currently offlineStarGoldLHR From Heard and McDonald Islands, joined Feb 2004, 1529 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (7 years 11 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 4665 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.



So far in 2008 45 flights and Gold already. JFK, IAD, LGA, SIN, HKG, NRT, AKL, PPT, LAX still to book ! Home Airport LCY
User currently offlineLite From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (7 years 11 months 4 days ago) and read 4448 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.


User currently offlineSam1987 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 946 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (7 years 11 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4392 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.



Next flights: LGW-LBA-LGW, LHR-SIN-SYD, SYD-BKK-LHR, LGW-GRO, GRO-CIA, CIA-MAD, MAD-LGW
User currently offlineDavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7442 posts, RR: 13
Reply 18, posted (7 years 11 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4375 times:
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Quoting Sam1987 (Reply 17):
HER, MLA, PFO, SZG and TFS.

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


User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (7 years 11 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4372 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


User currently offlineBMED From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2004, 860 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (7 years 11 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4346 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.



Living the jetset life! No better way to be
User currently offlineSam1987 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 946 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (7 years 11 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4338 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....



Next flights: LGW-LBA-LGW, LHR-SIN-SYD, SYD-BKK-LHR, LGW-GRO, GRO-CIA, CIA-MAD, MAD-LGW
User currently offlineBrianDromey From Ireland, joined Dec 2006, 3929 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (7 years 11 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4313 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"



Next flights: MAN-ORK-LHR(EI)-MAN(BD); MAN-LHR(BD)-ORK (EI); DUB-ZRH-LAX (LX) LAX-YYZ (AC) YYZ-YHZ-LHR(AC)-DUB(BD)
User currently offlineLite From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (7 years 11 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4313 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.


User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7808 posts, RR: 25
Reply 24, posted (7 years 11 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4308 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!!!



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
25 Gkirk : BD have 2 chances outside of LHR... MAN or EDI...
26 BestWestern : Exactly - for example - DL are already planning for this eventuality. BD failed with the liberalisation of India - and they will fail with open skies
27 Cainanuk : 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
28 Jacobin777 : Sell part of them, get some new widebodies, and start some routes out of MAN (as well as make MAN their "fortress")....
29 JonnyWishbone : 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
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