The European Commission has given the go-ahead for the acquistion of British Midland International by the International Airlines Group, parent company of British Airways and Iberia. IAG said: “Some technical conditions need to be finalised before completion, which is anticipated to take place around 20th April 2012.” The approval comes after IAG agreed to relinquish 14 pairs of take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow, rather than the 10 originally proposed.
The purchase price is £172.5 million, but IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh said: “This is subject to significant price reductions if Lufthansa does not opt to sell Bmibaby.” He added that talks will now commence with unions over job losses at BMI, which currently has a workforce of 2,600.
IAG will gain an average of 42 daily slots at London Heathrow from the deal, excluding:
- Seven daily slot pairs between Heathrow and Edinburgh and/or Aberdeen
- Five daily slot pairs between Heathrow and Cairo, Moscow, Nice, Riyadh, Edinburgh and/or Aberdeen
- Two Heathrow daily slot pairs will be leased to Transaero for use on flights to Moscow
- Other airlines can apply for seats on the integrated BA/BMI short- and mid-haul network for transfer passengers, on normal commercial terms
A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic Airways said that the carrier would “review all available options”, but did not say if the airline would lodge an appeal to the EC decision.