Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, said the decision was based on competition concerns in the airline market. BA said it was disappointed about the three-month inquiry, but remained confident that the deal would be approved. The takeover would bring together the two biggest operators at Gatwick airport south of London. Virgin Atlantic had complained that it had not had a fair chance to counter-bid.
THE GOVERNMENT yesterday referred British Airways' pounds 75m acquisition of its franchisee airline, CityFlyer Express, to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.