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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
BRITISH AIRWAYS, Virgin Atlantic and Flybe are among a host of carriers said to be circling bmi, which, along with Austrian Airlines, is now part of the Lufthansa group. Although it has opened bmi's books and reportedly accepted around a dozen expressions of interest, the German flag-carrier has not said that it will definitely sell.
Lufthansa is understood to have paid some £230m for Sir Michael Bishop's majority stake in the East Midlands-based airline after protracted - and sometimes bitter - negotiations. Lufthansa's purchase of Sir Michael's holding of 50 per cent, plus one share, gave it 80 per cent of the UK airline (SAS Scandinavian owns the rest). Although it lost £99.7m last year, bmi's big asset is its Heathrow slots - after British Airways, it holds more than any other airline.
In addition to the UK carriers, other interested parties are said to include US, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern airlines.
Just as the bmi deal was being sealed, the European Commission (EC) gave a long-delayed green light to Lufthansa's takeover of the Austrian Airlines group, which includes Tyrolean Airways and charter carrier Lauda Air. The EC not only granted anti-trust immunity, but approved the payment to Lufthansa of 'restructuring aid' worth €500m by Österreichische Industrieholding, which is tasked with selling off Austria's nationalised industries.