Heathrow slots "too tempting to ignore" - Walsh
British Airways has not ruled out buying bmi's lucrative Heathrow slots, ceo Willie Walsh said yesterday (May 27).
He told investors in New York the slots at the UK airport were too tempting to ignore despite BA's weakened financial position.
"In the current environment, it is difficult to argue we should go out and acquire those slots," the Financial Times reported.
"Having said that, it may be the only opportunity we ever get."
BA last week reported a pre-tax loss of £401m for the financial year ending March 31. Despite BA's worst financial results since the 1980s, it could still seek to increase its dominance at Heathrow.
A spokesman for BA said: "We are always keen to improve our Heathrow slot portfolio but in the current economic environment we would have to be pragmatic about acquiring slots.
"But our appetite might not be what it was a year ago."
bmi currently holds an 11% share of Heathrow's take-off and landing slots making it the airport's second largest airline.
The struggling British airline could sell its valuable slots to raise cash, despite currently being taken over by Lufthansa.
bmi was unavailable for comment.
bmi's founder and chairman Sir Michael Bishop is to take Lufthansa to the High Court in London in an attempt to settle a dispute over the conditions of its takeover.
In October Sir Michael who owns 50% plus one share of bmi, exercised a share option requiring Lufthansa to take a controlling share in bmi.
This would raise Lufthansa's stake from its current 30% to 80%.
But a cash row erupted after the German airline asked shareholders to inject money into bmi to prevent it losing its licence.
Mr Walsh's comments could put Lufthansa under pressure to settle its dispute with bmi and secure the important Heathrow slots.
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