Virgin and IAG in race to buy Lufthansa's BMI

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Virgin Atlantic is vying with British Airways' owner, IAG, in the race to buy their smaller rival BMI, as its parent, Lufthansa, studies options for the loss-making business.

Virgin yesterday said it was in discussions with Lufthansa and expressed concern at the possibility of BMI falling in to the hands of IAG, which is also believed to have approached the German carrier. "[We] have confirmed our interest in acquiring BMI," Virgin said.

While it is losing money, BMI boasts lucrative assets in the form of flight slots at London's Heathrow; it controls about 10 per cent of the airport's take-off and landing slots, estimated by Citigroup analysts to be worth about £400m.