Virgin wades back into the fight for BMI

Marion Dakers
VIRGIN Atlantic has muscled into the auction for BMI, a month after British Airways parent IAG agreed to buy the airline.

Lufthansa, which owns BMI, said yesterday it has also reached an agreement in principle to sell the carrier Virgin, stressing that its deal with IAG had not been exclusive.

Virgin, which has shown interest in BMI since it was put on the block in September, is thought to have made a bid worth much less than IAG’s.

But the firm hopes its smaller market share would make its offer more straightforward in the eyes of regulators. Virgin hit out against BA and Iberia’s merger on competition grounds.

BMI controls around nine per cent of the landing slots at close-to-capacity Heathrow, while Virgin has just three per cent. Lufthansa hopes to complete a sale early next year.