BA is cementing its presence at its London-Heathrow (LHR) hub by buying 6 daily slot pairs from the troubled airline bmi British Midland International.

As reported by BA parent, International Airlines Group (IAG) in a press release, “BA plans to use these slots from late October 2011 for operating more long-haul and short haul flights”. This is a big boost for the OneWorld alliance and a dent for the Star Alliance presence at the major hub in London.

bmi is the second largest operator out of Heathrow airport serving many destinations both within UK and internationally, Initial reports suggest that the deal could be worth €100m-€150m.

Of late bmi has been going through a series of troubles with its current parent Lufthansa planning to dispose it off instead of integrating it within the group. This slot sale is expected to bring much needed cash flow for the airline which will soon be starting operations to the Indian city of Amritsar from Heathrow airport which will enable many Non-Resident Indians based out of UK from the Indian state of Punjab to avoid the Delhi airport hassle. What remains to be seen is that will be able to turn the tide for the airline or will it be acquired by a competitor eyeing the lucrative Heathrow landing slots, only time will tell.

  • NB said,

    This is bad news indeed for Star Alliance and its presence at LHR. It will be worse when bmi finally goes under, which now seems inevitable given that Lufthansa has basically pulled the plug. bmi provided a very useful feed into the airport from short haul flights to countries not otherwise represented by Star Alliance. Without that, the Star Alliance connection possibilities will be limited to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia and not much else.

  • planensimple said,

    I don’t think LH would let bmi go under, they have significant investment in them and as of there last investor conference they planned to invest a bit more in it to maybe try turning around some of its operations, what needs to be seen is as to how they dispose it off. Do they break it in pieces or do they sell it as a whole.

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