Sunday, 28th October 2012 marked a chapter in bmi‘s ever changing name and product, as it took flight as a new entity ‘bmi regional‘. Based on the existing bmi regional network, the airline; once an subsidiary of the main carrier bmi; was bought up by a consortium whilst the bmi brand was being broken down for scrap for £8m (if you have had your head in the sand for the last year).
Flying the existing fleet of Embraer regional jets, not much has changed on the surface of this airline, almost as if it is business as usual. The uniforms and livery stay the same, the route network (bar a few new additions) continues connecting smaller UK regional airports with European and UK destinations. The mainstay of the lounges will remain in place, along with business and economy class. So what has changed? Not much to start with. There is a new magazine, new logo designed by Saatchi (even if it’s very close to the original) and recently announced, bmi regional may actually reinstate the original name ‘bmi’.
The agreement with IAG was that bmi regional must maintain the ‘regional’ tag in it’s brand until April 1st 2013. There has been a hint to Thedesignair from the PR team at bmi regional that not only the brand name, but also aircraft type may change at the same time. There is no secret that the overheads on the 18-strong Embraer fleet, with small cabins on unique low-yield routes, especially on a diminishing domestic airline passenger demographic, can prove a costly endeavour. For bmi to have a plan to generate new routes on new aircraft from regional airports in the UK isn’t just a good idea, it is no doubt part of their ongoing strategy. Here at Thedesignair, we are expecting a fairly dramatic relaunch, with new logo, livery, and in-flight premium product, with no doubt the addition of a single aisle airbus fleet, based in the heart of England and Scotland, flying predominantly business routes, in a similar brand strategy as brussels airlines European network.
Whilst bmi was never financially the great success story it could have been, the brand itself is loved by many. The livery, we are proud to say, was both ‘great’ and ‘British’. It’s smart blue, white and splash-of-red treatment offered a smart ‘tailored suit’ for the planes to wear , whilst the shadow of the Union Jack on the tail-plane was a real contemporary twist of Britain. It would be fitting to see some of these elements remain.
Strangely enough, this would actually follow the roots of the airline, a midland UK based airline, that flew trans-European as well as domestic flights. Obviously this wouldn’t be a threat to IAG to start with, but, just perhaps April 1st next year may not be fools day after all!