Walsh eyes BMI’s Heathrow slots

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British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh has restated his interest in BMI, citing the Lufthansa-controlled carrier's strong slot position at London Heathrow.

Lufthansa, which took over BMI earlier this year, has said all options are open on the future of BMI. Walsh has already publicly outlined his interest in the carrier should Lufthansa decide to sell.

"We remain clearly interested in the future of BMI and we watch with interest what Lufthansa does in relation to that," Walsh said, speaking to analysts on a first-half results call today. "We have made that known directly to Lufthansa but there are no discussions or formal contact with Lufthansa on the issue. They have indicated they want to consider all options available to them and we are watching with interest to see what happens.

"Our interest in BMI is primarily in relation to the slots at Heathrow, but we have identified other value as well. They have generated an interesting network of routes, following their sort of switch into the mid-range routes, there are a number of destinations that BMI currently serve that would be on the our list of destinations for the future."

Walsh is, however, confident that funding could be secured for any possible future move for BMI. "I think if Lufthansa decided they wanted to dispose of BMI and if we were in a position to make a successful bid, funding for that is something we would need to address but I think we can make a very strong case that it would be very beneficial to British Airways, I'm very confident about that."