BA owner on course to buy BMI

International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways and Iberia, is in advanced discussions to buy BMI British Midland from Germany's Lufthansa.

Although the German carrier is still thought to be in discussions with alternative buyers, such as Virgin Atlantic, IAG is expected to enter exclusive discussions with Lufthansa in the next few days.

BMI is struggling, but the airline is regarded as being attractive because it controls 9 per cent of the coveted take-off and landing slots at Heathrow.