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Nethercote2019

Active Member
Apr 17, 2019
58
33
58
Birmingham
I see air Baltic have just announced services to Man ..... the BHX route development team even mentioned this particular airline/route as pretty much about to be a dead very - so another near thing I guess.... Which may just go to show how difficult it is to get new routes etc
 

Angie88

Active Member
Mar 18, 2019
53
33
31
Birmingham
I see air Baltic have just announced services to Man ..... the BHX route development team even mentioned this particular airline/route as pretty much about to be a dead very - so another near thing I guess.... Which may just go to show how difficult it is to get new routes etc

Maybe they still might, give them time! I’m sure we will have some announcements soon
 

Ray Finkle

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 22, 2012
12,199
265
Birmingham
I see air Baltic have just announced services to Man ..... the BHX route development team even mentioned this particular airline/route as pretty much about to be a dead very - so another near thing I guess.... Which may just go to show how difficult it is to get new routes etc
Below was from an interview at Routes 2018 along with 'massive potential to India' (still no Friday flight despite Tom Screen tweeting it was returning Sept), 'demand for flights to North America remaining strong' and BHX having 'a strong message to take to the airlines'.

“A major aim is to increase connectivity to European hubs,” Screen adds. “We have good connections to the likes of Amsterdam, Paris and Madrid, but we would like links to cities such as Helsinki and Riga, as well as more capacity to Munich. Finnair and Air Baltic are therefore target airlines for us.”

I take what they say with a large pinch of salt.
 

58terminus

Platinum Member
Sep 23, 2016
1,235
133
birmingham
12 bore. Make all of them take notice. Stop aiming at one target today and a different one tomorrow and missing them all..
Ditch the long haul target for the time being.
 

Matt995

Platinum Member
Dec 11, 2015
488
123
Royal Leamington Spa
Below was from an interview at Routes 2018 along with 'massive potential to India' (still no Friday flight despite Tom Screen tweeting it was returning Sept), 'demand for flights to North America remaining strong' and BHX having 'a strong message to take to the airlines'.

“A major aim is to increase connectivity to European hubs,” Screen adds. “We have good connections to the likes of Amsterdam, Paris and Madrid, but we would like links to cities such as Helsinki and Riga, as well as more capacity to Munich. Finnair and Air Baltic are therefore target airlines for us.”

I take what they say with a large pinch of salt.
Personally I think its wrong for Tom Screen or the Marketing Team to actually name airlines they are talking to or trying to target, if we take Air Baltic for example, as soon as the comment was made, you can see airports like Manchester, contacting Air Baltic and saying, what ever Birmingham Airport is offering you, we will match it, or undercut the costs, give you a better discount etc...

End of the day all airlines wants to cut costs, and reduct their overheads, and an big international airport like Manchester will always be far more appealing and attractive then Birmingham, especially when then have more clout, and can afford to pay the lower fees the airlines want

We need to face up to facts, Birmingham is not in the same league as Manchester and the London airports, we never will be and sadly I cant see anyway Birmingham can change this, we may get a few low cost/bucket and spade routes, but where are these new legacy airlines going to come from? forget the likes of Virgin, Finnair, TAP, Air Baltic etc. they are just not interested. The aviation world is changing, and Birmingham is getting left behind. :eek:
 

andrew.clarkson

Active Member
Apr 18, 2013
658
43
Hi there Matt995, I fully agree with you, Birmingham Airport is light years behind Manchester, Heathrow and Gatwick, and the reason for this is that at the time when Manchester decided in the late eighties to expand, Birmingham Airport management just sat on the fence and did nothing, while Manchester and the rest forged ahead, then you won der why Heathrow is handling 70 plus million a year, Gatwick is doing 40 million a year, Manchester is doing 25 plus million a year, then you look at Birmingham Airport is struggling to achieve 13 million a year, and to think that Birmingham is the second city to London the capital with a population of 1,100,000, where Manchester has a population of over half a million, Birmingham Airport is a laughing stock. Even while this new ceo on board now is too late to do anything at all to catch even Luton Airport up on 15,000,000, and Luton runway is far shorter than Birmingham Airports.. Andyc
 

Ray Finkle

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 22, 2012
12,199
265
Birmingham
Personally I think its wrong for Tom Screen or the Marketing Team to actually name airlines they are talking to or trying to target, if we take Air Baltic for example, as soon as the comment was made, you can see airports like Manchester, contacting Air Baltic and saying, what ever Birmingham Airport is offering you, we will match it, or undercut the costs, give you a better discount etc...
I think I'd agree.

Lots of comments made in recent years with very little actually delivered leaving quite a bit of egg on faces. Time to start playing cards closer to their chests, if they have any cards left that is.

Birmingham Airport is a laughing stock
If true then it's totally of their own making.

Maybe I'm kidding myself but I don't believe that a city of 1.2 million, a region of circa 3 million and a metropolitan area of over 5 million cannot support flights to Lisbon, Stockholm etc. Birmingham and the greater region is booming with record levels of investment that just keeps on growing. One only has to spend a few hours walking around Central Birmingham to notice the sheer amount of construction going on. Anyone driving down the M42 corridor (UK Central) will see that Blythe Valley and Birmingham Business Parks are bursting at the seams with huge units being constructed almost on a permanent basis, as one is finished another starts. Birmingham also has some extremely affluent suburbs in Edgbaston, Harborne and Sutton Coldfield. If that is then extend into Solihull, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire etc gives a substantial catchment area.

Given the above it's my opinion that something is wrong at BHX and has been for a while as, looking from the outside in, it's massively letting down the city/region which it is supposed to serve. Exactly what is wrong I do not know but the list of missing routes has now become unacceptable for a city with Birmingham's ambitions. Have BHX management got any ideas left? Are they operating within excessively constricting guidelines given from above which is seriously hampering route development? Have the Seven Metropolitan Boroughs of the West Midlands (49% owners) given up on a route network that would provide vital links to the region and are just happy to sit back and take the cheque each year? I have no idea but how long can this situation be allowed to continue?

I appreciate that BHX is now surrounded by MAG airports that have a financial clout that cannot be competed with but Birmingham are spending £500 million on what is effectively a terminal make over. Whilst much of it is definitely needed would it really hurt to tone down just some of the plans a little and spend a few of those millions on route development?

Anyone else think that it is about time that we heard something of substance from the new CEO?
 

andrew.clarkson

Active Member
Apr 18, 2013
658
43
Hi there Ray, Manchester Airports remaining large share holder is ifm, who are a fund management from Australia, with assets worth £150,000,000,000 Australia dollars, where as Birmingham Airport largest private investor is otpp who have assets worth £190,000,000,000, they hold 48. 25% in bhx.
 

IanFarquharson

Platinum Member
Jul 23, 2015
1,418
150
58
Balsall Common
bhxmovements.blogspot.co.uk
Hi there Matt995, I fully agree with you, Birmingham Airport is light years behind Manchester, Heathrow and Gatwick, and the reason for this is that at the time when Manchester decided in the late eighties to expand, Birmingham Airport management just sat on the fence and did nothing, while Manchester and the rest forged ahead, then you won der why Heathrow is handling 70 plus million a year, Gatwick is doing 40 million a year, Manchester is doing 25 plus million a year, then you look at Birmingham Airport is struggling to achieve 13 million a year, and to think that Birmingham is the second city to London the capital with a population of 1,100,000, where Manchester has a population of over half a million, Birmingham Airport is a laughing stock. Even while this new ceo on board now is too late to do anything at all to catch even Luton Airport up on 15,000,000, and Luton runway is far shorter than Birmingham Airports.. Andyc
BHX = 12.7m

LHR = 80.7m

LGW = 46.6m

MAN = 29.3m

STN = 28.4m

LTN = 17.7m

EDI = 14.8m
 

andrew.clarkson

Active Member
Apr 18, 2013
658
43
Hi there Ian, great list where it clearly shows Birmingham Airport at the bottom which we already know this, so what was the point that you were making Ian..
 

Angie88

Active Member
Mar 18, 2019
53
33
31
Birmingham
Ray I completely agree. Do we think it’s management to blame or is it a lack of flexibility when negotiating deals with airlines that’s causing the problem? Or is it both?

I found this interesting on LinkedIn. Route Developments response from Air Baltic to MANs announcement on the new connection. Maybe it is a management issue?
 

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mullion

Well-Known Member
May 9, 2014
560
63
Population of a city doesn`t really matter its the area the airport covers, within 100 miles or so of BHX you have LHR,STN,LTN, EMA
and BRS and all easy to get to and most having the London airport pull so BHX are fighting a battle they can never win as airlines are
unwilling to split their Market
 

Angie88

Active Member
Mar 18, 2019
53
33
31
Birmingham
Population of a city doesn`t really matter its the area the airport covers, within 100 miles or so of BHX you have LHR,STN,LTN, EMA
and BRS and all easy to get to and most having the London airport pull so BHX are fighting a battle they can never win as airlines are
unwilling to split their Market
Slightly contradicting yourself. Big cities come with large urban conurbations (such as the West Midlands) which in turn are the core airports catchment area. If services aren’t available locally of course people travel but that’s the airports responsibility to compete. BHX isn’t strategically competitive at retaining airlines.

Point is, Birmingham Airport is underperforming irrelevant of geographical challenges.
 

mullion

Well-Known Member
May 9, 2014
560
63
Simple answer is Heathrow and to a lesser extent Manchester and has been ever since I became interested
in aviation when Manchester only handled 2M but was four times size of BHX and Heathrow was only 15M
so in reality BHX has actually lessened the gap percentage wise on both. The big differnce is business traffic
has grown a lot less than the others due to leakage north or south to Legacy carriers.
 

Coathanger16

Platinum Member
Sep 29, 2016
1,226
143
25
Solihull
Besides the largest legacy airlines (Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, etc) the era of legacy carriers at regional airports has long since passed. Whilst most airports moved onto low cost carriers, BHX still tried to go for the legacy carriers and subsequently got left behind.

I don't think that mindset really changed until we lost our legacy carrier link to NYC, and BHX took on a "we must have a link to NYC and any airline will do" approach. We all know how that one ended...

During and after the airport has since lost 2 of their largest carriers, and without Jet2 that really would have been endgame for BHX. Regardless of who approached who for a Jet2 base at BHX, you have to congratulate the airport for getting Jet2 in - they could very easily have said "no we don't want Jet2; they'll have too much of a negative impact on our existing carriers".

Having said that I think the time has come for BHX to follow BRS's approach and rely on existing carriers to grow the airport, at least for the next 5-10 years, rather than chase airlines that are either never going to come to BHX or are years away.

Use the respite from large growth in passenger numbers to get the airport running as it should. I've seen far too many complaints about how long immigration, security and baggage reclaim have taken. The work to expand the departure lounge and update the check-in areas, whilst compared to new terminals at LHR & MAN is insignificant, at BHX it'll play a huge part in improving the customer experience and making sure passengers keep coming back rather than have a negative experience and chose other airports over BHX in the future.

In terms of unserved routes, many of the destinations that keep getting mentioned are served from other UK airports by airlines that actually serve BHX. As much as I'd like an EZY base at BHX, and as welcome as the new GLA & EDI routes are, I still think we're a long way off getting an EZY base - if ever. Just look at the list below for unserved routes from BHX, and from where airlines that serve BHX serve these destinations from elsewhere in the UK:

RyanairAthensLTN, STN
RyanairHamburgEDI, STN, MAN
RyanairKalamataSTN
RyanairLimogesBRS, EMA, LBA, STN, MAN
RyanairLisbonEDI, STN, MAN
RyanairLuxembourgEDI, STN
RyanairNuremburgSTN
RyanairToulouseEDI, STN
RyanairValenciaBRS, EMA, EDI, STN, MAN
RyanairVilniusLPL, LTN, SEN, STN
SASStockholmEDI, MAN, LHR
TUIVarnaMAN, LGW
VuelingFlorenceLTN, LGW
WizzChisinauLTN, DSA
WizzReykjavikLTN

Rather than chasing other airlines, get these airlines to expand their presence at the airport. Everyone keeps going on about EZY - yet the largest low cost carrier in Europe, Ryanair, already has a base here. The airport needs to capitalise on that and get them to grow their operation here to more than just Spain and Poland. Find out why RYR aren't serving more destinations and then do something about it - it'll almost certainly be cheaper than what it would take to get EZY to open a base here!
 

jfy1999

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 25, 2015
3,209
200
Birmingham
Just to add to Coathanger's points above, any talks with legacy carriers will be on a timescale of several years. Angie88's post shows that this was the case with MAN and airBaltic.

This might be a good thing as there will be more time for Birmingham's population and businesses to grow enough to consistently support the services, but an even bigger factor, that makes me think the legacy carriers may still be worth pursuing for the long term, is London's future airport capacity.

The Heathrow capacity problem seems to have done wonders for Gatwick - it definitely used to be a "bucket and spade airport" but has now attracted the likes of Air China, China Eastern, Delta, Cathay, Qatar and business routes from BA which I doubt would have materialised if Heathrow had its third runway. The benefits of a full LHR have more recently been spreading to Stansted with Air India, Emirates, and SAS starting flights.

I can see BHX benefiting from London overspill with the arrival of HS2, but the management should definitely choose wisely as certain airlines' commitments to any alternative London gateways will be completely dependent on whether Heathrow is expanded or not.

Unfortunately, Heathrow R3 has now been joined by other issues in the wider UK picture which will likely have a huge bearing on the future of Birmingham's economy and BHX route development, but are out of the airport's control (possible delays to HS2, Brexit uncertainty, etc).
 

Ray Finkle

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 22, 2012
12,199
265
Birmingham
Whilst it's not the be all and end all the core catchment area surely must play a big part in an airports success, or lack of it? For an airport to be successful it need airlines and for an airline to be successful it needs people.

Sadly BHX still has a bad reputation amongst locals and I still hear 'you can't fly there from Birmingham' or 'Birmingham is way too expensive to fly from' on a regular basis. Sadly the first point is becoming ever more prominent with the airports ever diminishing route network and more and more destinations are now on the 'you can't fly there from Birmingham' list. The second point is also an interesting one, only yesterday I read that someone needed to travel to Germany and were quote £300 return from Flybe to Hamburg, instead they are booked on easyjet from MAN for the grand total of £60 return. In recent times I've heard similar experiences about Copenhagen (with easyjet from LTN) and a whole host of other destinations. I'm all for supporting your local airport but with that saving even I'd go elsewhere and it kind of reinforces the perceptions out there.

With LHR just down the road BHX will always struggle when it comes to long haul, the sheer amount of variety and frequencies on offer mean that even if a direct flight was available from BHX it would only be once daily at the most and Heathrow may still be the better option. When it comes to short haul though I'm not convinced about the effect that other airports play as they've been there for as long as I can remember and have hardly just sprung up. The networks now available from the other airports mentioned have been steadily growing for years and could hardly have taken BHX by surprise. Why did nobody ever stop and take a look around to realise that the market share was steadily being eroded and then devise a plan to stop the decline? BHX have failed spectacularly when it comes to the loco airlines and it still doesn't seem to be able to get it right to this day. Manchester was late to the party but it recognised what was going on and how many customers they were losing and they did what it took to get easyjet and Ryanair on board and are reaping the massive benefits, with BHX customers now thinking 'why pay £300 when I can pay £60?' Anyone remember a few years ago when the buzz phrase was 'clawing back our share'? Didn't work did it?

Sadly we now seem to be in a situation where the likes of Ryanair and easyjet have a ring of airports surrounding the Midlands where they have stable and growing bases to which customers from our region are happy to travel to as it means massive savings. What incentive is there for them to change that if they are getting our customers anyway?

It's only my opinion but I think BHX has done way too little way too late and the big two players (Ryanair and easyjet) are probably well aware that we need them way more than they need us. Could it mean that getting something significant from either of them now is going to come at a great cost? If so do BHX have the will and the appetite to get it done?

Everyone keeps going on about EZY - yet the largest low cost carrier in Europe, Ryanair, already has a base here. The airport needs to capitalise on that and get them to grow their operation here to more than just Spain and Poland. Find out why RYR aren't serving more destinations and then do something about it - it'll almost certainly be cheaper than what it would take to get EZY to open a base here!
Whilst I definitely don't disagree aren't Ryanair renowned for building up route portfolios, giving huge passenger growth and getting airports to rely on them before demanding massively increased incentives to stay? Whilst I'd love to see more from Ryanair I think it's a dangerous game to play to have them as your primary airline. Whilst likely costing more easyjet would, for me, offer greater long term stability.
 

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