Virgin Atlantic CEO Steve Ridgeway confirmed the airline is still looking at acquiring bmi, which is likely to be sold by Lufthansa. A merger would combine the second and third-largest carriers at London Heathrow. “bmi is very much up for sale and we are part of that process,” Mr Ridgeway said, as reported by wire services, adding he “would like to see if there is a way of putting these two businesses together”. He said in 2005 that a tie-up between Virgin and bmi was “the great undone deal in aviation,” given the “logic” of the combination.
Virgin operates exclusively long-haul services out of London Heathrow, while bmi’s network is heavily skewed toward short-haul operations, which would allow Virgin to develop a larger feeder network. British Airways has also confirmed its interest in bmi, according to IAG spokeswoman Laura Goodes, who said “we’re always looking to increase our Heathrow slot portfolio. That’s always been the case”.
Virgin Atlantic: “We are interested in the future of bmi…We are complementary businesses. Now, whether that could be done or whether that works for our shareholders, that’s what we need to see. Nothing is decided at the moment,” Steve Ridgeway, CEO. Source: Bloomberg, 12-Oct-2011.