The EU Commission has approved the purchase of Bmi by the International Airlines Group (IAG), parent company of the merged British Airways and Iberia.
In a statement IAG said that "some technical conditions need to be finalised before completion, which is anticipated to take place around April 20, 2012". The group will gain an average of 42 daily slots at Heathrow as a result of the deal, excluding the following commitments to the European Commission as part of the regulatory process:
- Seven daily slot pairs to be used between Heathrow and either Edinburgh and/or Aberdeen
- Five daily slot pairs to be used between Heathrow and the following destinations - Nice, Cairo, Riyadh, Moscow, 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 midhaul network for their transfer passengers, on normal commercial terms
Confirming the news IAG's CEO Willie Walsh said the decision was "great news for Britain", adding that "Over time we will launch new longhaul routes to key trading nations that are currently not served from Heathrow while supporting our shorthaul network".
Walsh said that expanding IAG's long-haul network would help Heathrow grow as an international hub "despite its infrastructure constraints".
The purchase price is £172.5 million as previously reported, but Walsh stressed that this is " subject to significant price reductions if Lufthansa does not opt to sell Bmibaby".
Report by Mark Caswell