IAG watching developments at BMI and TAP Portugal

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International Airlines Group (IAG) says it is carefully watching developments at several European carriers in which it has an interest, but that any moves towards possible links or mergers first require movement by other parties.

Reports have linked IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, with British Midland International (BMI), TAP Portugal and Aer Lingus.

An IAG spokeswoman said that the Portuguese government would have to dispose of part or all of its ownership of TAP before IAG could do anything: "Our position is that we're interested in finding out more about the airline."

With BMI, IAG has said several times that it has an interest in the UK carrier, particularly its ownership of some 10% of the valuable slots at London Heathrow Airport, but that the ball is in the court of BMI's parent, Lufthansa Group, as to the carrier's future.

IAG had made no comment on the future of Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus, added the spokeswoman.

The Irish government has said it is looking at the possibility of selling its 25% stake in the national airline to raise money for the cash-strapped national exchequer, but that any move would not happen before 2012.