BA Connect - the new regional arm of national flag carrier British Airways - is to increase capacity out of Birmingham with a quarter of a million extra seats this year, new chief executive Willie Walsh will tell local business leaders today.
Mr Walsh, who has already embarked on a cull of managers at the airline, will reinforce the airline's commitment to Birmingham at a CBI lunch event.
BA Connect - formerly BA CitiExpress - has already announced new services from Birmingham to Berlin and Geneva, its first expansion move in the city for two years.
It is also reintroducing flights to Belfast on April 12.
Mr Walsh claims that with 600 flights a week out of Birmingham to 17 destinations in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, BA Connect will operate more services from the city than any other scheduled carrier.
The airline is rapidly moving away from its traditional image to meet the increasing challenge from low-cost carriers such as Flybe and Ryanair.
"Five years ago, CitiExpress faced six competitors across its network and also flew a significant number of routes where it was the sole operator.
"Today, there are at least 18 carriers on this network and uncompeted routes have all but disappeared," he will say.
"New entrants have succeeded because they recognised there was unmet consumer demand in the market as it was. And that is the task for all airlines - to identify what the customer wants and to provide it at a price they are willing to pay.
"The long-term health of the BA regional business will be determined not by us but by customers - which is as it should be.
"The battle with our customers continues and you - the customers - are the real winners."
Mr Walsh believes that the rocketing price of oil - which has already increased BA's fuel bill by a third to £1.5 billion - will pose new challenges.
"We expect the coming year to be even more challenging, as hedging effects unwind and the dollar strengthens," he will say.
"We know oil prices are out of our control. Our task is to focus on costs we can control, which is why we are preparing new working practices for Terminal Five (BA's new terminal at Heathrow).
"It is also why we are reducing senior manager posts by 50 per cent and middle manager jobs by 30 per cent over the next two years.
"And it is why we are tackling our pensions issue.
"British Airways seems to have the best publicised pension fund deficit in the UK, though thousands of other employers face problems similar in nature."
Hinting that major changes to BA's pension scheme are on the way, he will say: "Our annual contribution to the pension fund has doubled from under £120 million three years ago to more than £250 million today and exceeds the contribution of employees by five to one. According to the TUC, a reasonable ratio is two to one."
Following a four month 'awareness' exercise with staff, proposals will be put forward later this month.