Birmingham Airport registers significant rise in traffic, Flybe plans Birmingham expansion

Birmingham Airport in the UK has reported a 10.6 percent passenger increase for January, compared to a year ago, as holidaymakers took the opportunity to escape the wet and windy January weather for sunny shores.

This is the first time that the airport has experienced double digit growth since December 2005. In total, 549,489 travellers passed through the airport in January, and long-haul traffic saw a major rise of 23.8 percent compared to January 2013.

Several of the scheduled short-haul services registered significant growth; Chambery at 233.6 percent, Fuerteventura at 175.6 percent, Waterford at 127.9 percent, Arrecife at 123.2 percent, Madeira at 113.3 percent, Stuttgart at 106.9 percent, and Milan at 73.8 percent.

The charter flights that experienced double digit growth in January were Barbados (55.1 percent) and Mexico (17.9 percent).

Paul Kehoe, Birmingham Airport’s chief executive, said: ‘These January figures show that more and more people are realising the benefits of using Birmingham as an alternative to other airports to fly for business and leisure.

‘This is a great start to 2014 and we look forward to offering even more choice this year as several new routes are launched and extra capacity is made available on key routes.’

The split between scheduled and charter flights in January was 88.6 percent scheduled and 11.4 percent charter.

The report comes as Flybe, a UK-based regional airline, unveiled a major expansion of its operations at Birmingham Airport with the announcement of ‘Magnificent Seven’ new routes and an extra three jet aircraft, with over 1.7 million seats on sale for the summer.

The seven new routes includes a six times weekly service to Florence, a new destination for the airport; daily flights to Cologne; a six times a week service to Toulouse; a five times a week service to Alicante and four times a week to Bordeaux, Palma Mallorca and Porto.

To support the ‘Magnificent Seven’ routes, Flybe is also bringing three of its Embraer 175 jets to the airport, thereby creating its biggest ever regional base with 12 aircraft, as well as creating more than 50 new Flybe jobs.

Flybe plans major new base at Birmingham Airport

British low-cost regional airline, Flybe, is looking to expand at Birmingham Airport, creating 50 jobs and offering seven new passenger routes.

The airline will fly to Alicante, Bordeaux, Cologne, Florence, Palma, Porto and Toulouse, the BBC said in a report. Flybe will now operate 32 summer routes to and from Birmingham, up to a maximum of 375 return flights each week, totalling 1.7m seats.

In November, the Exeter-based airline revealed plans to close six bases, including Aberdeen, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey and Newcastle, and to axe 500 jobs.

Announcing the closure plans last year, Flybe chief executive, Saad Hammad, said that redundancies were ‘necessary to secure a long-term future for Flybe’. A former EasyJet executive, Hammad was named Flybes new chief in July.

Balpa, the British Airline Pilots Association, said that it welcomed the news of expansion in Birmingham, ‘especially given recent downsizing announcements elsewhere’.

‘Our efforts continue to reduce the impact of redundancies and job cuts on individuals as the airline restructures,’ it added.

Three of the aircraft on the new Birmingham schedule will be transferred from other regional hubs, the company said.

Paul Simmons, from Flybe, said that the decision to base extra aircraft at the airport was ‘a vote of confidence in the local economy’.

William Pearson, from Birmingham Airport, said: ‘Not only will this growth make Birmingham Airport Flybe’s biggest ever base, it will also become our largest carrier, flying up to 400,000 extra passengers a year and serving nearly two million travellers in total.’

Flybe, which is in the middle of a restructuring, said separately that it was working to cut the costs of grounding some of its fleet and now expects fewer job losses than previously announced.

Under its ‘Immediate Actions’ plan announced in November, the airline proposed 500 redundancies and estimated one-time charges of GBP14m in the current year, plus a further £27m in 2014-15 for grounding aircraft. The company is now expecting total job losses to be around 450.

Flybe set to add new Birmingham routes

British low-cost regional airline, Flybe, is planning to increase capacity on key routes at Birmingham airport and is set to announce new routes at the airport soon, Routes News has reported.

The airline will increase flights from Birmingham to Hanover, Milan-Malpensa and Stuttgart to twice daily from March 30. It will also operate an extra Saturday service to Stuttgart. With the changes, Flybe will operate up to 680 flights a week this summer from Birmingham, on 24 routes.

Flybe also said that it would deploy an 88-seat Embraer 175 jet aircraft on ‘the majority’ of its Hanover and Stuttgart services. It previously operated a 78-seat Q400 turboprop on the routes.

Paul Simmons, Flybe’s chief commercial officer said: ‘These new flights reflect the increasing focus that Flybe is putting on Birmingham International Airport.

‘We are continually looking for ways in which we can expand and improve our network and look forward to announcing soon some exciting new Flybe routes from Birmingham very shortly,’ he added.

The airline reportedly said that ‘plans are well advanced for even more new routes, with a significant announcement expected shortly’. It has previously said that Newquay in Cornwall will be joining its Birmingham network this summer.

Additionally, on January 13, Flybe was given a license to fly from Guernsey to Luton Airport by the Commerce and Employment Department, but a spokesperson said the airline had ‘no plans to start a schedule to Luton this summer.’

The announcements come as the regional carrier undertakes a comprehensive strategic review. In November the airline announced plans to close six bases as part of its cost-cutting plan. Bases at Aberdeen, Guernsey, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey and Newcastle are due to close, as the airline looks to save GBP85m over the next few years. The company said that it would be reducing its workforce by 500.

Exeter, Devon-based Flybe operates over 180 routes to 65 European airports and carried over seven million passengers during 2013.

Monarch Airlines Commences Flights from Birmingham to Sharm El Sheikh

Monarch Airlines, a UK-based airline company, has commenced services from Birmingham Airport in the UK to Sharm El Sheikh, in Egypt.

Sharm El Sheikh is bordered by the Red Sea on one side, and Mount Sinai on the other side. Water sports are a major attraction for tourists visiting the beach destination, and scuba diving in particular. Visitors flock to the resort to experience the underwater beauty of 250 coral reefs, and 1,000 different species of fish, which thrive in the waters.

The airline is offering a service to Sharm El Sheikh once a week, on a Thursday, for the winter season of 2012/13, for British travellers that are keen to find sunshine curing the UK’s coldest months.

The managing director of Monarch Airlines, Kevin George, said, ‘We are delighted to be expanding our winter 2012/13 flights programme from Birmingham Airport, providing our customers in the Midlands with even more flexibility and choice.

The launch of the Egypt flight, already a popular route for us out of Gatwick and Manchester airports, is a great opportunity for those who wish to escape the UK’s cold winters. This is followed by another exciting route launch in December when we have our first flight from Birmingham to the popular ski destination of Grenoble.’

Martyn Lloyd, the commercial director at Birmingham airport, said, ‘This new flight from Monarch means passengers now have even more choice from their local airport. We are delighted with the commitment that Monarch has shown to the region in offering this new route and also the addition of the new route to Grenoble. Monarch is going from strength to strength at Birmingham and the services and facilities that it offers means passengers have choice, value and convenience from their local airport.’

Ryanair Announces New Winter Service to Four Destinations from Birmingham

Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, is launching four new routes for its winter 2012 schedule.

The flights will be connecting Birmingham Airport in the UK, with Barcelona (Spain), Krakow (Poland), Milan (Italy) and Palma De Mallorca (in Majorca). The new services will commence from November 2012.

The airline is also releasing 100,000 seats from £13 for travel on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, during August and September.

The airline sales and marketing manager for the UK and Ireland, Maria Macken, said, ‘Ryanair is pleased to announce 4 brand new routes from Birmingham to Barcelona, Krakow, Milan and Palma De Mallorca, starting in November 2012. These new routes will grow our winter 2012 schedule to 18, which will deliver over 1.5m passengers per annum at Birmingam Airport.

To celebrate these new Birmingham routes, Ryanair has launched 100,000 seats from £13, for travel across Europe in August and September, which are available for booking until midnight Monday (July 9, 2012). Since seats at these crazy low prices will be snapped up quickly, we urge passengers to book them immediately on www.ryanair.com.’

Paul Kehoe, the chief executive officer of Birmingham Airport, said, ‘I’m certain this news will be welcomed in the Midlands as it means that people can use their local airport rather than having to travel outside the region to fly. Ryanair is an important customer of Birmingham Airport and we’re delighted that the carrier has placed even more confidence in the region by adding further routes to its current Birmingham operation.’

SAS Scandinavian Airlines Commences Service from Birmingham Airport

SAS Scandinavian Airlines, a Sweden-based airline company, is to launch a new route from Birmingham Airport in the UK, to Stockholm in Sweden.

The new, six times-weekly service commences from October 29, 2012, using B737-600 aircraft with 120 seats.

Hans Dyhrfort, the airline regional general manager for UK, Ireland and Iceland, said, ‘We are delighted to announce the expansion of our operations from the UK’s second largest city – with 8 million people living within 60 minutes of the airport, Birmingham is an important area of development for us.

We now serve Stockholm directly from London Heathrow, Manchester, Edinburgh (seasonal service) and now Birmingham closing up the geographic gap that we had in the area. This is giving us the opportunity to better serve West & East Midlands businesses as well as leisure communities.’

The daily flights to Stockholm will operate on all days, except Saturday, and is offering airfares commencing from £104 one-way.

Martyn Lloyd, the air services development director for Birmingham Airport, said, ‘We’re delighted that SAS has recognised the need for services to Stockholm for Midlands’ business and leisure travellers and has taken the decision to expand its route network from Birmingham Airport. We look forward to launching the new service this winter, and providing regular services to Sweden’s wonderful capital city.’

The airline has recently been named the world’s most punctual major airline for the month of May 2012, with a punctuality of 92.38 percent. It received the award for the second month is a row.