Oneworld member British Airways (BA) has reached an agreement to acquire 51 weekly slot pairs at London Heathrow Airport from Star Alliance carrier BMI.

The slots are currently used by BA franchise partner British Mediterranean (BMed), which is being acquired by BMI.

A BA spokesman says: “We can confirm that we have undertaken a slot exchange with BMI and we will also undertake a codeshare with BMI on the former BMed routes from the end of October 2007, when our franchise with BMed ends. BMI has been financially compensated for the slots. It is 51 weekly pairs.”

He adds that the slot trade, which will take effect from the end of October, is with BMI and not BMed. The BA spokesman declines to comment on the financial terms of the transaction.

A BMI spokesman refuses to comment on the slot deal. BMI has 12% of the total slot pool at Heathrow, giving it the second largest share after BA.

BMI revealed its plans to acquire BMed in February and recently fixed 28 October as its planned integration date. From this point BMed will operate under BMI’s air operator’s certificate (AOC) and British Airways’ livery and uniforms will be removed.

Specialising in operations to the Middle East and Central Asia from London Heathrow, BMed has a fleet of three Airbus A320s and five A321s. It has operated as an independent BA franchise partner since 1997.

Other high-profile examples of slot trading have included BA’s deal with Swiss International Air Lines and Flybe’s slot exchange with Virgin Atlantic and Qantas Airways.