UK carrier bmi regional could look to introduce larger equipment into its fleet within the next 18 months, its chief commercial officer, Jochen Schnadt revealed during a panel session at this year’s Routes Europe Strategy Summit in Kraków, Poland.
Speaking in a session on regional carrier trends in Europe, Schnadt said that bmi regional is seeing the potential to grow capacity in some of its existing markets and opportunities for larger equipment for new route development.
bmi regional currently operates an all-jet fleet of 18 aircraft comprising four Embraer ERJ-135s and 14 ERJ-145s. The airline now operates more than 300 scheduled flights a week across a network of 25 destinations in eleven European countries. The airline also operates an extensive ad hoc charter business and flies on a contract basis on behalf of other carriers.
While there remains “growth opportunities” with its current fleet of 49-seat Embraer ERJ-145s and 37-seat ERJ-135s, bmi regional could source larger equipment to expand its activities. “We don’t see this as a replacement of our current fleet but as an addition that complements our existing offering,” said Schnadt.
In an exclusive interview with Routesonline on the sidelines of the Routes Europe forum, Schnadt confirmed that it remains really early days with the strategy but highlighted that there are a number of factors that when combined will drive this growth forward.
"There are existing scheduled markets that now need larger equipment, other markets that would be ideally suited to a larger airliner and potential white label flying opportunities," he explained. "We will need to develop the critical mass to make the introduction of a second type a sustaianble option for the airline.
As it remains very early in the project's process, Schnadt identified that no study has yet been started on the scale or type of aircraft that will be required to reach this critical mass. "If I was to go with my gut then we will probably be looking at the 90-100 seater market," he added.