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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
Airport adverts spark regional rivalry
East Midlands Airport
An airport's exact location is under scrutiny
Low-cost airline bmibaby has flown into a row over its new overseas advertising campaign by using Nottingham to promote East Midlands Airport as a destination.

This is even though the airport is in Leicestershire and closer to Derby.

The company is using the city to front a 150,000 euro marketing drive to get more French, Irish and Dutch travellers to visit the East Midlands.

Council officials in the neighbouring counties have expresses concern about the impact of the campaign which they feel could affect tourism .

Maurice Burgess, the Liberal Democrat leader of Derby City Council said the decision was "disappointing" at a time when Derby and other cities in the region were raising their profile.

"I believe the airport serves the East Midlands as a whole.

People outside the UK just don't know where the East Midlands is, especially as it's not identified by a dot on a map.
Tony Davis, managing director, bmibaby
"I would like to see bmibaby promoting us as East Midlands Airport, Nottingham, Derby and Leicester."

The airline's managing director Tony Davis said they were only following industry standards that designate airports "official" destinations.

"We are using Nottingham as our destination to promote the whole of the Midlands region, including Derby, Leicester, Sheffield, Northampton, Lincolnshire and Birmingham."

Under International Air Transport Associations (IATA) rules, all airports are allocated cities within a "reasonable proximity".

Although the airport is geographically in Leicestershire, under IATA guidelines East Midlands Airport is officially in Nottingham.

Robin Hood

Mr Davis said: "Research has shown that people outside the UK just don't know where the East Midlands is, especially as it's not identified by a dot on a map.

"People know where Nottingham is, so even if they are looking to travel to Derby or Leicester they'll know they are close by.

Councillors in Leicestershire also opposed the use of Nottingham for the campaign.

Only people in Nottingham, which already has its own smaller airport at Tollerton, welcomed the move and even suggested an overall name change involving Robin Hood.

An East Midlands spokeswoman said: "We're proud of our heritage and have spent time and money on our brand.

"We have got a number of important cities.

"Everywhere is important, not just Nottingham."

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