2 APRIL 2012
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Late last Friday afternoon (30 March) the European Commission said that it approved the IAG (parent company of British Airways) bid for bmi, subject to various conditions. A predicated outburst erupted from Scotland where there will be no competition now on the major trunk routes into Heathrow. Virgin Atlantic had already virtually conceded its opposition to the takeover but is likely to obtain some long haul slots. The deal includes IAG committing to carry connecting passengers to feed the long haul flights of competing airlines out of Heathrow but how that works in a marketing sense remains to be seen.
British Airways will have just over 50% of slots at Heathrow, still less than Air France at Charles de Gaulle, KLM at Amsterdam and Lufthansa at Frankfurt. Which bmi services, where they were the only British operator, are axed remains to be seen with BAA also anxious to sort out its future tenants for terminals two and three.
Currently IAG is paying Lufthansa £172.5m for bmi. If the German operator fails to find a customer for bmibaby the price goes down, a bonus for the Anglo Spanish group. www.iairgroup.com
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