Virgin Atlantic set to appeal against BMI sale to BA

by Jack Bibey | Sunday, Apr 15, 2012 | 273 views

Virgin Atlantic will be appealing against the European Commission’s decision that allows the owners of British Airways to buy its BMI airline .

IAG , the owners of Spain’s Iberia , has also been given the permission to buy the small Lufthansa airline for 172.5 million pounds.

Virgin on the other hand has said that the Commission while arriving at the deal ignored all the cases made against the deal and some of the cases they made were very strong. The deal is set to take effect from April 20 , according to IAG officials.

The sale of the BMI was announced in December last year but the permission for a go ahead by the commission was given only on March 30.

According to the terms of the deal , BA will be given 56 new slots at the Heathrow airport , though it will have to do away with 12 existing slots as a part of the deal.

Sir Richard Branson , president of  Virgin Atlantic has  raised criticism over the fact that the commission reached  a decision within 35 working days . He condemned the commission for the lightning pace at which the deal was carried out and thinks that the slots offered as a part of the deal are derisory and they represent less than 25 % of BMI’s earlier network . This process , according to him , will damage the health of British airline industry for a lot of years and they will do everything possible to stop it . He censured the acts of commissions in which it apparently ignored the views of politicians , business groups and airlines in favor of one big firm. They will also bid for the 12 slots they are supposed to give up as a part of the deal.

The deal, if it goes through, could put nearly 1200 employees out of their jobs. It presently has a staff of around 3600 people, but it reported losses of 153 million  pounds in 2010. They have operations in Europe , Middle east and Africa . The company also handles around 8.5 % of the traffic at the Heathrow , which is the country’s busiest airport.


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