Virgin in talks about feeding Heathrow airlines hit by BMI demise

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Virgin Atlantic is aiming to plug the connectivity gap left at its London Heathrow hub by the British Airways/BMI merger and is in talks with the carriers and alliances affected by the move.

"Clearly there are a lot of carriers at Heathrow that were fed by BMI - we will be able to provide that," says Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway.

"We're in partnership with many of those airlines already. It's important that we retain that competitive dynamic at Heathrow so there really is full competition to BA," he adds.

Virgin operates a global long-haul network from Heathrow and is proposing to introduce a handful of short-haul services following the demise of BMI, which was its connecting partner on UK and European routes.

"At Heathrow, while there is a Oneworld group dominated by BA, there are other very big groups: the Star carriers, the SkyTeam carriers, and 140 non-aligned carriers, and we are very attractive to all those. And they all have an interest in competing against the big dominant carrier there," said Ridgway.

"We've been talking to them all as we could feed our own network and the carriers outside the Oneworld alliance."