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Sale of bmi regional completed

1 June 2012

The sale of the regional division of bmi to the UK consortium of investors, Sector Aviation Holdings Ltd. by IAG (British Airways) has now been completed in a deal that secures the future of the bmi regional brand and business and sees the airline continue as an independent entity.

Future plans including the likely strengthening of the head office function at East Midlands Airport with the creation of up to forty new jobs in sales, customer service and finance as well as maintaining the operating centre in Scotland.

Ian Woodley, who becomes chairman of bmi regional under the new regime, commented: "We are continuing with the existing route network while BA will provide support during the transitional phase of the operation and we will be working closely with them to ensure as seamless a transfer as possible

"I would also like to reassure our many customers, who will have naturally been wondering what the future holds during what has been a very uncertain period, that it is very much business as usual including the retention of the bmi brand and existing services.

"This is a great company with fantastic people and my colleagues and I are immensely proud to have concluded the acquisition of an organisation that is held in such high regard throughout the United Kingdom and beyond.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil said: "This is fantastic news for Aberdeen and for the north-east. It safeguards a number of popular routes from Aberdeen Airport and, crucially, the jobs based there to support the service.

"Employees and passengers of bmi regional will also be pleased that this is happening with a team with a strong background in Scottish aviation. Efficient, convenient services from Scottish airports to destinations across Europe and beyond are key to the Scottish Government’s overarching aim of sustainable economic growth and I welcome the potential for future growth at Aberdeen Airport which this development presents."

Jim O’Sullivan, managing director, Edinburgh Airport, said: "We are pleased that this service has been saved and will continue to offer destinations from Edinburgh. We work hard with our airlines to give our passengers the best choice of routes and look forward to working with the new owners to exactly that."

Derek Provan, Aberdeen Airport MD added: "I am pleased to hear that the sale of bmi regional has gone smoothly, news which will give great comfort to the staff in particular. Their future has been secured and we are now looking forward to working with the company moving forward to help develop their offering from Aberdeen Airport."

Ian Woodley and colleague Graeme Ross, who will oversee business development, know the business well, having founded its predecessor Business Air, which was sold to British Midland in 1996 while Robert Sturman, who has held a number of senior positions within the industry, is also part of the management team which had been in negotiation with IAG/BA, and previously Lufthansa, since the autumn of last year. He assumes the role of CEO.

Sector Aviation, the company acquiring bmi Regional, is being funded by Stephen and Peter Bond who have extensive aviation investment experience including Scottish regional Loganair and Alliance in Australia.

bmi regional operates over 600 flights a week throughout the UK and Europe, many in partnership with SAS, Lufthansa, Brussells Airlines and Swiss and was recently voted the UK’s most punctual airline for the seventh year in a row.

While the immediate future will witness little change to the day to day operations of the business, as Ian Woodley confirms, the new owners will be exploring new opportunities for bmi regional:

"It is very much our aim to develop the network in both the UK and Europe and with the future now secured and that uncertainty removed, we can look ahead with confidence.

"These are exciting times and underpinning all that we are planning is the fact that bmi Regional’s customers will continue to benefit from our convenient schedules, a wide choice of destinations within the UK and Europe and a high level of service and punctuality."

 

Issued by The BIG Partnership For info and/or interview please contact Dave Macdermid on 07805 436988 -

dave.macdermid@bigpartnership.co.uk  or Laura Grant on 07813 880496 – laura.grant@bigpartnership.co.uk