I fly ABZ/MAN a lot and use bmi Regional when I can – I personally hate Flybe and their unreliable, cold, shabby service.
Without fail the bmi flights have been on time and the crews very friendly. Fares usually compare ok with Flybe as well, so I really do hope they do well.
One of the directors is ex-Eastern so he probably took a lot of Eastern ways with him to bmi. It would make sense to merge the two, but I can’t see it in the near future – knowing a couple of the bmi directors, they will do their damnest to build their brand up and make a name for themselves – I really hope they succeed.