British Airways parent International Airlines Group could end up paying as little as £20 million for BMI, according to weekend speculation.
With IAG taking on BMI’s unwanted subsidiaries Bmibaby and BMI Regional because no buyers could be found, owner Lufthansa agreed to reduce the £172.5 million original asking price.
IAG has no plans to run the two subsidiaries and the Sunday Times, quoting “insiders” suggested that the price had come down to about £20 million.
For this it gains 42 valuable pairs of take off and land slots at Heathrow for £476,000 each when they have previously sold for between £5 million and £10 million, according to the Sunday Times’ business editor Dominic O’Connell.
BA confirmed that it plans to operate BMI’s summer schedule while consultation with unions continues over integration of the airline, which will result in 1,200 job losses.
“Once that consultation is complete we will communicate further details about out proposed integration of BMI into British Airways,” the airline said.
BA chief executive Keith Williams said on Friday: “It’s business as usual for both BMI mainline and British Airways customers.
“We plan to operate BMI’s Heathrow summer schedule and their flights remain available for sale through the GDSs. We are proposing to integrate BMI into British Airways, subject to the outcome of consultation with staff and unions, which began last week.
“We aim to make any transition as smooth as possible and we’ll keep customers up-to-date with our progress.”
BA ran full page adverts in the national press at the weekend welcoming BMI into the fleet and saying it hoped for a smooth transition. Customers were urged to visit ba.com/bmi for further updates.