|Who needs Palma? bmibaby’s beach in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre has attracted more than 100,000 people so far this summer. Four bmibaby tickets to Lisbon were presented to the 100,000th visitor.|
British Midland’s low-cost subsidiary bmibaby only began services from Birmingham airport at the start of 2005 and yet within three years the airline has become the biggest at the airport, according to recent figures, with 17% of traffic in July.
Competition from Flybe and Monarch
This summer, bmibaby is serving 20 destinations from the UK’s sixth busiest airport.
|Destination||Start Date||Initial Frequency||Current Frequency||Pax* in 2006 (all carriers)||Competition|
|Aberdeen||29 Oct 06||12||12||77,948||Flybe|
|Alicante||07 Jan 05||7||8||196,295||Monarch|
|Amsterdam||08 Jan 05||13||13||485,654||KLM|
|Barcelona||25 Mar 07||7||7||45,960||–|
|Belfast International||08 Jan 05||13||18||176,141**||Flybe (BHD)|
|Bordeaux||10 Jun 05||7||7||46,475||–|
|Cork||27 Mar 05||7||7||115,566||Aer Lingus|
|Edinburgh||07 Jan 05||14||18||494,741||Flybe|
|Faro||27 Mar 07||3||3||93,384||Monarch|
|Glasgow||25 Mar 07||18||18||325,912||Flybe|
|Jersey||24 May 07||4||4||37,822||Flybe|
|Knock||07 Jan 05||6||8||92,422||–|
|Lisbon||25 May 07||4||4||–||–|
|Malaga||07 Jan 05||7||9||262,494||Monarch|
|Marseille||25 May 07||4||4||–||–|
|Murcia||12 Jun 05||1||5||79,177||Monarch|
|Nice||10 Jun 05||7||7||64,644||–|
|Palma||08 Jan 05||2||7||69,104||Monarch|
|Prague||07 Jan 05||6||7||93,508||–|
|Rome Fiumicino||24 May 07||7||7||–||–|
|* scheduled only
** plus 263,934 to Belfast City (BHD)
Apart from these year-round routes, bmibaby also serves the ski market in winter with regular flights to Geneva. The UK surf capital of Newquay was served daily during the summer of 2005 but was abandoned thereafter. Of the 20 summer routes, bmibaby has a monopoly on eight of them, competition from Flybe on five, competition from Monarch scheduled services on five and faces Aer Lingus and KLM on Cork and Amsterdam respectively.
Base requires eight aircraft
This summer’s schedule requires eight aircraft as shown in the table. Most routes are operated daily during the week, but Jersey and Marseille share aircraft time as do Murcia and Faro and Lisbon and Malaga.
Only one aircraft departs before 06:30 (to Amsterdam) and only one returns after midnight.
Fares are reasonable even for late bookers
Compared with some other LCCs anna.aero has looked at, bmibaby’s fares for late bookers are quite reasonable. The only flights that had high prices a few days in advance were Friday night trips to Prague and weekend flights to Nice.
Fares include all taxes and charges for one-way travel. Passengers wanting to travel the following day (Monday) would pay on average £123 across all routes. However, if travel could be delayed until Thursday average fares fall by nearly 40% to just £75. For reservations made now for travel in late October, the following fares are currently available.
The average fare is now closely correlated with sector length. Short-haul domestic flights are the cheapest, while Alicante, Faro, Murcia and Rome have the highest fares reflecting their sector length of more than 1,500km.
What happened to BA?
Not so many years ago British Airways was the largest airline at Birmingham and was represented by several of its subsidiaries, including Maersk Air Ltd (MAL) and BA Regional. MAL decided to go it alone and evolved into duo before failing in May 2004. BA Regional became part of BA Connect, which was sold to Flybe last year and was fully rebranded earlier this year. However, flights can still be booked on BA’s website, though frequently at higher fares than if passengers booked at flybe.com.
In effect BA no longer has a presence at Birmingham and so Flybe, bmibaby, Monarch and others have stepped in to fill the slots vacated by BA. For bmibaby, Birmingham is now its biggest base by some distance with more aircraft and routes than at East Midlands, Manchester or Cardiff.