IAG and Virgin do battle for slots

Virgin makes its move for British Midland International

International Airlines Group has a rival to buy the loss-making but slot-rich British Midland International from Lufthansa. Virgin Atlantic, the UK’s second biggest airline, has confirmed that it has made a rival bid, having agreed a term sheet, and says it is now in negotiations with BMI on the next stage of the purchase. BMI owns almost 9% of the much-sought after slots at Heathrow. Media reports say that the bid from IAG is more generous cash-wise, but Lufthansa may favour the Virgin bid as the IAG airlines come from a rival alliance. Virgin Atlantic is 49% owned by Singapore Airlines, a Star Alliance member like Lufthansa.
“British Airways’ hold over Heathrow is already too dominant and we are very concerned – as the competition authorities should also be – that BA’s purchase of BMI would be disastrous for consumer choice and competition,” Virgin said in a statement.
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