British Midland a one time busy operator from Manchester

British Midland a one time busy operator from Manchester


Route News

Manchester Airport Route News

BMI Regional - trading as “Fly bmi”

Sadly, the airline entered into administration on Saturday 16th February 2019.The company said it had been badly affected by rises in fuel and carbon costs and uncertainty over Brexit.

The East Midlands-based airline, had 376 staff and operated 17 aircraft flying to 25 European cities.

Historically,the airline has served Manchester in many guises and with many aircraft types over the years. The one time company owner, Sir Michael Bishop, was a keen aviation enthusiast from Manchester and like many of us could frequently be found “spotting” at the airport having cycled from his family home in Bowden.

Prior to launching Trans Atlantic services at the Airport with Boeing 707 aircraft Sir Michael gave a talk to TAS about the airline and his life long passion in aviation. In recent years the airline found itself being sold off from the original BMA Group. A re formed BMI operated under several different owners and numerous rebranding attempts. Sadly, it appeared to have difficulty in competing with the emerging low cost carriers even though it had tried its hand in the market with BMI Baby.However it did hold a considerable number of valuable slots at Heathrow. In 2018 the airline was again under new ownership and was primarily focused on serving the UK domestic market and a number of short haul European operations.Whilst it had very little presence at Manchester,it was about to launch a new schedule service to London Derry Northern Ireland. Unfortunately,the same cannot be said about the Manchester Airport Group airport of East Midlands where the airline had a much larger presence.

Affected passengers have been told to contact their travel agents or insurance and credit card companies. A Flybmi spokesman said: "It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement."The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU's recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

"Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe."

Sources: BBC News /Bmi/TAS. Photo’s Peter H

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British Airways

Are to increase their MAN – Malaga service to 3 weekly this Summer


Has announced a new route between Manchester and Tel Aviv for summer 2019.

Flights between Manchester airport and Ben Gurion airport, which serves the Israeli city, will run three times a week from May 26 2019.The new B737-800 service was announced by Michael Strassburger, the airline’s vice president of commercial and industry affairs, at World Travel Market in London.


Etihads Boeing 777’s are not going to be around for too much longer at Manchester?

Etihads Boeing 777’s are not going to be around for too much longer at Manchester?

Will change aircraft types on their Manchester scheduled as follows:-
EY021/022 from 16th May a B787-9 replaces the B777-300ER on this service
EY015/016 from 31st March a B787-10 replaces B787-9 (Day 2 operated by B787-9 25th June – 10th September)


Flybe Dash 8 GPRPG 040718.jpg

A takeover has been agreed for struggling regional airline Flybe through a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group. The joint venture partners now plan to create a “fully-fledged UK network carrier” under the Virgin Atlantic brand, which will provide feed for Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul network.

Flybe is set to be sold to a consortium in a deal worth £2.2m, less than two months after the European regional airline put itself up for sale. The consortium, which comprises Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital Partners, has formed a joint venture called Connect Airways.

Following completion of the deal, Connect Airways plans to combine Flybe and Stobart Air to form a new UK carrier that will operate under the Virgin Atlantic brand. It will run alongside Stobart Air’s existing wet lease operations and aircraft leasing business.

The partners said the new venture plans to “optimise Flybe's network and operations” to focus on key routes, with the aim of “continuing to enhance regional connectivity” across the UK and Ireland.

Its network will be adjusted to improve connectivity with Virgin Atlantic's long-haul network, particularly at London Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport.

Jet 2

Will continue to operate more flights (destination based) from T2 in 2019:- Alicante (From Feb 1),Almeria (From May 4),Antalya (From Feb 16),Barcelona (From Feb 3),Bodrum (From May 2),Izmir (From May 1),Krakow (From Feb 1),Malta (From Feb 17),Menorca (From May 2),Naples (From Mar 3),Nice (From Mar 11),Pisa (From Mar 29),Pula (From May 5)Verona (From May 8)


Have applied for slots for a daily MD11F from / to Frankfurt service commencing 1st April 2019. Arrive 1605 Depart 1835. The proposed route is part of the airlines contingency planning for Brexit. Apparently, it is concerned that the airlines trucking operation could suffer delays at UK Ports. As with everything Brexit…I guess time will tell?

Royal Air Maroc

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Casablanca – Manchester frequency is being revised from 3 x weekly to the following:-

1st April – 21st June 2 x weekly (Previous plan: 2 weekly in May only)
23rd June – 13th September 4 x weekly (1 of 4 weekly to be operated by Embraer E190)
16th September – 25th October 2 x weekly


New routes announced from Manchester for 2019 :-  Poitiers, Kiev, Thessaloniki, Billund, Gothenburg, Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille and Marrakesh


 Is further expanding services from Aarhus, as the airline schedules Aarhus – Manchester nonstop service. From 01APR19, CityJet CRJ 900 aircraft will operate the new Manchester route 3 times a week. This route does not operate from 27JUN19 to 18AUG19.

SK1537 AAR 0945 – 1035 MAN
SK1538 MAN 1110 – 1400 AAR

United Airlines

Will be replacing the Boeing 757 on their scheduled Newark service with{-
Boeing 767 - 400ER from 30th March to 28th April
Boeing 767 - 300ER from 29th April to 21st May
Boeing 767 - 400 ER from 22nd May to 25th October


Will operate 10 A320 flights per week to Barcelona from MAN for Summer 2019

Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook has said (7th February 2019) that it is conducting a "strategic review" of its airline as it seeks to find funds to invest more in its hotels business.The travel firm stressed the review was at an early stage, but would consider "all options" including a sale.

The company's fleet of 103 jets is a mix of planes it owns and leases. The company has a major operating base at Manchester Airport with Crews,Management,Engineering,Administrative staff and maintenance facilities all located at the airport.

Airlines across Europe are struggling amid fierce competition. Budget airline Germania has filed for bankruptcy and Flybe needed rescuing last month.

In contrast, Thomas Cook's airline is largely profitable. It made earnings before financing costs and tax of £129m last year, although it reported a loss in the last three months of 2018.

News of a potential sale boosted the firm's shares by 13% in early trading on 7th February.

Source BBC News.

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Manchester Airport Celebrates Chinese New Year

-5th February 2019

Direct traffic to China up 17% year on year

  • More than 184,000 passengers flew to Hong Kong last year, whereas 76,000 went to Beijing

  • Wealth of Chinese New Year activity planned including, art exhibition, Chinese Wishing Tree, lucky pig giveaways and traditional Lion Dance

  • Manchester’s routes to China continue to unlock economic growth as a recent report highlighted a 38% increase in Chinese visitors to the North, with average spend increasing by 94%

As Chinese New Year beckons and we enter the Year of the Pig, Manchester Airport is celebrating another strong 12 months as passenger numbers to China grew 17%.

With more than 260,000 passengers travelling to Beijing and Hong Kong in the last year, the UK’s third largest airport continues to play its role as the UK’s global gateway in the North.

Hong Kong has been operated by Cathay Pacific for four years and Beijing with Hainan Airlines for two and a half years. Both routes make Manchester the only English airport outside of London to offer direct services to these destinations, underpinning the vital role the hub plays for its vast catchment area spanning all the North, North Wales and part of the Midlands.

To celebrate and thank passengers for choosing to fly to China from Manchester, the airport has planned a host of activity to celebrate the Year of the Pig in style.

A stunning Chinese Wishing Tree will adorn Terminal Two, giving passengers the opportunity to hang their New Year wishes and desires from the branches of the 10ft blossom tree. In China, blossom trees symbolise new growth, transformation and prosperity.

Passengers will also have the opportunity to enjoy an art exhibition in collaboration with the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art that will be in the Terminal Two arrivals halls. Adding other visual touches will be a set of interactive posters with QR codes so passengers can engage with the airport’s WeChat account, and dozens of Chinese lanterns will be hung throughout all the terminals and skylink.

Adding a touch of theatre in Terminal Two check in, will be a traditional Lion Dance and Chinese performers on Chinese New Year (5th February), plus the airport’s choir will serenade passengers airside on the same day.

Finally, amongst all the fun on 5th February, passengers arriving and departing will get the chance to receive a lucky pig envelope, with duty free offers inside and prizes to be won.

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Andrew Cowan, CEO of Manchester Airport said:

“We have seen first hand how the connectivity Manchester Airport now provides with China has unlocked a wide range of cultural and economic benefits for the region.

“This year’s Chinese New Year activity will provide an opportunity to celebrate those links and I look forward to sharing the celebrations with our customers during the period.”

The celebrations come on the back of the publication of the second edition of The China Dividend, a report which measured the economic impact of having direct flights to China from Manchester Airport.

The study, launched at the British Embassy in Beijing in September, showed that exports, inward investment enquiries, student numbers and tourism have all boomed since the Hainan route launched.

Mr Cowan added: “The findings of our second China Dividend report clearly showed that direct connectivity to the likes of Beijing and Hong Kong significantly enhances trade, tourism and investment in both directions.

“We are committed to driving such growth across the North by continuing to connect it to the world’s most important markets, and we are confident of securing links to other high value economies in the months and years ahead.

“Finally, I’d like to thank all the 260,000 passengers who have flown through Manchester Airport to China in the last year and hope those travelling over Chinese New Year enjoy the activity we have planned.”

Launched in September 2018, the second version of Manchester Airport’s annual “China Dividend” report highlighted:

  • A 38% increase in the number of Chinese visitors to the North since 2016 – a growth rate higher than both London and the UK average. The UK average is 30%

  • The average spend per visit in the North West increased by 94% to £2,167 and is now 5% higher than the national average

  • The number of Chinese students in Greater Manchester has grown 9% in two years vs national growth of 4%

  • A 114% increase in Northern students gaining Chinese internships, with more than 70% from low income backgrounds

  • The Manchester-Beijing route has grown faster than any other UK-China route that has been in operation for more than 12 months

  • Export values from Manchester Airport to China grew 41% to £1.29bn in the two years after the Beijing route launch, while national values fell 30%.

Manchester Airport will be celebrating the Chinese New Year period with various events at the airport.For the first time the Runway Visitor Park (including the TAS Shop and Reception) will be appropriately decorated with Chinese lanterns and aircraft models.