After International Airlines Group (IAG) announced today that it had agreed in principle with Lufthansa to take over British Midland International (BMI), there is confusion as Virgin Atlantic Airways appears to be still making a rival bid for the UK carrier.

Virgin said in statement today that "we are working with Lufthansa on the next stage of the purchase".

Virgin added that "we remain committed to the acquisition of BMI".

IAG said earlier today that it expected to ink a binding purchase agreement with Lufthansa "in the coming weeks" and that the transaction would be completed "in the first quarter 2012".

Given London Heathrow's exhausted capacity and dependency on the existing slots, Virgin argues that a BMI takeover through British Airways parent IAG would have an adverse effect on competition at the UK hub.

"British Airways' hold over Heathrow is already too dominant and we are very concerned - as the competition authorities should also be - that BA's purchase of BMI would be disastrous for consumer choice and competition," said Virgin.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news