Revamped structure establishes new force in regional aviation
A major shake-up in the regional airline business has been established with bmi regional and Loganair becoming part of a new regional airline group, under newly appointed Chief Executive, Peter Simpson.
A new holding company, Airline Investments Limited (AIL), acquired the shares in bmi regional and Peter Simpson will adopt the position as Group CEO of the combined businesses. The AIL Group will create a regional airline group with substantial scale and reach: 46 aircraft, carrying approx. 1.5 million passengers each year, turnover of circa £200m and employing 960 people, flying 47 routes across 10 countries across Europe from Sumburgh in the Shetland Isles to Toulouse in the south of France. The investors in AIL, successful 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.
This new structure will cement the position of both bmi regional and Loganair as strong regional players in the UK and European aviation markets. Each carrier will continue to operate as a distinct business and brand. bmi regional already has strong partnerships with Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines and Loganair has long term franchise agreements and code share agreements with Flybe and British Airways respectively. The consolidation of the two sister airlines under one holding company will provide natural efficiencies and economies of scale that will enhance both carriers.
Peter Simpson brings to the newly created role of Group CEO of AIL over 30 years experience within the aviation industry. He joined AIL Group from British Airways where he was Managing Director of BA at Gatwick Airport since 2013. Simpson was Group Managing Director of bmi following the acquisition of the business from Lufthansa, which lead to the successful integration of BMI’s mainline business into British Airways and also oversaw the sale of bmi regional from a subsidiary of BMI into an independently-owned airline in the same year. He was previously Managing Director of BA CityFlyer, having launched the airline, and driven the successful expansion at London City Airport since its inception in 2007.
Commenting on the recent restructure Mr. 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”.
Since starting as Group CEO in March this year, Peter Simpson has overseen the launch of 7 new European routes for bmi regional, and the airline now reaches 19 destinations across 10 European countries. The airline currently operates 7 routes as codeshares with Lufthansa Airlines and Brussels Airlines, enabling customers to connect to two global airline networks. In May, the business also purchased 5 aircraft, 3 from current lessors and two in anticipation of the Group’s continued growth.
Mr. Simpson concluded: “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.”