New regional airline force created

New regional airline force created

The combined resources of BMI Regional and Loganair are being brought together to create a new UK regional airline force.

They are now operating under a holding company called Airline Investments Limited (AIL) run by group chief executive Peter Simpson, British Airways managing director at Gatwick since 2013.

Simpson was managing director of BMI following the acquisition of the business from Lufthansa, which lead to the integration of BMI’s mainline business into BA.

He also oversaw the sale of BMI Regional from a subsidiary of BMI into an independently-owned airline.

Simpson was previously managing director of BA CityFlyer, having launched the airline, and driven the expansion at London City Airport since its inception in 2007.

AIL has a fleet of 46 aircraft, carrying about 1.5 million passengers a year, with turnover of £200 million.

The group employs 960 staff, flying 47 routes across 10 countries across Europe from Sumburgh in the Shetland Isles to Toulouse in France.

The investors in AIL, entrepreneurs Stephen and Peter Bond, have a long history in aviation, having previously owned Bond Aviation in the UK and original investors of Alliance Airlines in Australia.

Stephen Bond, a minority shareholder in Loganair, bought outright control of the Scottish carrier. The brothers also paid £8 million for BMI regional, the Times reported.

BMI Regional was originally known as Business Air and was acquired by the British Midland group in 1997.

The airline operates 14 Embraer 145 with 49 seats and four Embraer 135 with 37 seats across a network of 22 destinations in 10 European countries.

Glasgow-based Loganair operates as a franchise partner of Flybe serving the Highlands and Islands of Scotland together with links to airports such as Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Norwich and Stansted.

Simpson said: “The opportunity to run the AIL Group, building on the turnaround programme at Bmi Regional and the continued success of Loganair is very exciting.

“The AIL Group now has substantial size and reach; each brand has tremendous partnerships in their respective market.

“The two airlines operate in clear niche markets in vital roles such as feeding traffic to mainline carrier networks like Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines and British Airways, with Loganair operating a successful franchise with major regional carrier Flybe.

“The opportunity now is to build on the synergies between the two sister airlines and deliver great benefits to our customers and partners alike”.

He added: “The AIL Group and its investors are committed to maximising the opportunities that we’re creating in new markets as well as strengthening our presence in established markets.

“Both airline brands have an incredible heritage and a tradition of top quality service in their respective markets. I know the group will grow to play an increasingly significant role in the regional aviation sector across Europe into 2016 and beyond.”

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