Flying high: Bristol Airport and bmi regional look to the future
Created: 15th Jun 2015
Airline celebrates rapid growth and eighth route from South West as airport prepares to open terminal extension.
As Bristol Airport prepares to cut the ribbon on its £8.6 million terminal extension early next month, bmi regional is also celebrating a milestone from its South West hub, with the launch of its eighth route, Nantes in France.
The new bmi regional Nantes service takes off on 4 July, flying twice-weekly to the Loire region gateway. The same month, Bristol Airport opens its extension, offering more departure lounge seating alongside new retail and catering outlets, further enhancing the passenger experience and reinforcing Bristol’s position as the South West’s airport of choice.
Fares to Nantes with bmi regional start from £79 one way and the launch is the latest milestone in the successful partnership between bmi regional and Bristol Airport. It follows the introduction in April of services to Paris and Dusseldorf and the re-introduction of Milan at the beginning of the year. These routes, in addition to existing services (to Aberdeen, Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt), bring the number of destinations currently serviced by bmi regional from the South West to eight.
Following the success of bmi regional’s first route out of Bristol to Aberdeen - launched 29 October 2012 - expansion followed, with Hamburg launching in February 2013; Frankfurt in April 2013; and Munich and Milan a month later.
The airline now has 110 staff based at Bristol Airport: 63 pilots, 36 cabin crew and 11 engineers. Each week, 3,200 people fly with bmi regional from Bristol, taking advantage of its reputation for consistent punctuality and customer service. In addition, bmi regional staff check in about 2,000 bags each week.
Bristol Airport is the fifth largest outside of London handling 6.3 million passengers in 2014 and planning approvals in place for up to 10 million passengers per annum. A new Hampton by Hilton hotel is due to open next spring and a £1.3 million road improvement scheme is nearing completion on the A38.
Paul Sies, Chief Operating Officer at bmi regional, said: “In the South West, 5,000 companies are interested in or are already exporting to France and Germany. Nantes is the gateway to the Loire region, perfect for a weekend break. Meanwhile flying twice a day to Paris means that our passengers can have a full day of business in the French capital, rather than having to overnight there. Dusseldorf is an international business and financial centre and bmi regional is the only airline to directly connect the hub with businesses in the South West.”
Shaun Browne, Aviation Director at Bristol Airport, said: “We are delighted with the addition of the Nantes route to the bmi regional network. With large Airbus aerospace manufacturing sites in both Nantes and Saint Nazaire, the route will provide enhanced connectivity which is a key business focus for us. This region of France, with Nantes as the gateway provides easy access to both the Atlantic coast and the French countryside.”