BMI takeover sparks fears over capacity from Scotland

The potential takeover of BMI by British Airways’ parent International Airlines Group has sparked fears that more domestic routes from Scotland will be scrapped.

IAG’s £172 million bid to buy BMI from Lufthansa was accepted by owner Lufthansa before Christmas. Agents in Scotland fear BA might drop Heathrow services from Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Kevin Thom, president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, said the average BA Glasgow-Heathrow fare had risen £40-£60 since BMI pulled off the route last year.

Thom added: “BA said there would be no fare increases, but yield management ensures fares at the lower end are very difficult to get. Is that going to happen on the Aberdeen and Edinburgh routes? The fear is BA will cut services. There could be an opportunity for someone else to come in but the difficulty is getting the slots at Heathrow.”

He said the deal would also have an impact on Star Alliance member airlines who currently use BMI for their domestic connections.

Virgin Atlantic has also voiced opposition to the takeover, arguing the deal “tightens their [IAG’s] stranglehold at the world’s busiest international airport”.

BA said the takeover was a matter for IAG, but pointed out demand had led it to increase capacity between Glasgow and Heathrow by 25% from this week.

The deal is due to be completed during the first quarter of 2012 but is subject to regulatory clearance from the European Commission and other bodies.

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