Bmibaby is all set to axe its operations out of Cardiff and Manchester airports from the end of this summer. The low-cost airline, however, will boost up its operations in Belfast City.

Bmibaby, a well renowned low-cost carrier, has announced that it will cease to fly out from Cardiff and Manchester airports from the end of this summer.

The airline, whose parent company British Midland International has recently been taken over by Lufthansa, insists that it needs to focus more on its established routes during the current economic climate. Consequently, four bmibaby aircrafts will be redeployed to Belfast, East Midlands and Birmingham airports.

A spokeswoman for bmibaby was quoted by news portals as stating, “In the current economic climate it is essential for bmibaby to focus on airports where the airline already has a strong market presence and where there are strong growth opportunities for the business.

“Therefore bmibaby has optimised its current flying programme and will reposition two Boeing 737 aircraft currently based at Cardiff, and two Boeing 737 aircraft currently based at Manchester, to Belfast, Birmingham and East Midlands Airports from winter 2011.

“We will therefore cease operations from Cardiff Airport and from Manchester Airport from the end of the summer 2011 flying schedule,” continued the airline’s spokeswoman.

The announcement comes as a disappointment for travellers around the region who prefer air tickets on cheap flights that are run by the airline.

The airline commenced its operations from the Cardiff Airport in 2002 and operates two aircrafts out of the airport, serving numerous destinations, such as Alicante, Geneva and Palma. However, the flights will cease to operate at the end of this year’s summer season.

Patrick Duffy, Managing Director of Cardiff Airport, was optimistic and stressed that bmibaby’s percentage of total passengers had plummeted considerably over the past recent years. He also added that in his belief there is a feasible passenger market in South Wales for another low-cost airline, one that can that offer a better return on investment than that realized by bmibaby.

Travel experts, however, do not seem to be in complete agreement with Mr. Patrick Duffy. Many believe that bmibaby’s exit from Cardiff might push the airport behind its competitors in terms of passenger numbers.

In the year 2010, the Cardiff Airport served approximately 1.4 million passengers and out of which bmibaby accounted for nearly 10%. In 2006/07, bmibaby accounted for around 34% of all total passengers. Bmibaby, know for offering cheap tickets on flights, operates 30 flights a week on an average from Cardiff.

Bmibaby Announces New Belfast City Airport Routes
In what seems a very apparent case of one man’s loss is another man’s gain, bmibaby announced new flights to Malaga, Alicante, Palma, Faro and Ibiza from March 2012, tickets for which are already on sale. Year-round flights to Amsterdam will also be operated from October 2011, along with winter flights to Geneva.

“Bmibaby will be the only low-cost airline to operate the new routes directly from Belfast City Airport, and this will make getting away for a sunshine, ski or city break more accessible from Northern Ireland,” Julian Carr, Managing Director of bmibaby, was quoted in different online sources.

“The new routes build on our recent launch of the Belfast city to Stansted service, and the relocation from Belfast International Airport to Belfast City Airport,” he further added.

Mr Carr said that the new European flights will be complementing their existing operations at the Belfast City Airport.

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