Tuesday, 11 March 2008：British Airways has expressed an ongoing interest if new opportunities arise for it to purchase a stake in budget carrier bmi.
“We’re very interested in the future of bmi,” said Willie Walsh, British Airways CEO, said to the press on Thursday.
“Anything that gives us the option to pursue further growth at Heathrow is interesting,” he adds.
bmi is very attractive for British Airways as it holds lucrative rights to 12% of the landing slots at London Heathrow.
bmi could see a reshuffle of ownership this year as a series of rights sell and purchase options are nearing expiry dates.
Currently bmi is owned by Sir Michael Bishop, co-Founder and Chairman, who has 50% plus one share, Lufthansa who hold 30% minus one share, and Scandinavian airline (SAS) with a 20% stake.
As it stands Sir Bishop has until June 2009 to exercise a “put” option to sell his majority stake to Luftansa. Lufthansa, in turn, has until the end of the year to acquire Bishop’s holding.
And on top of all of this SAS has put its 20% stake up for sale.