So, finally, the EU authorities have today agreed to IAG buying British Midland and saving the airline from the scrapheap. This is good news for the airline’s pilots and cabin crew, most of whom should transfer to BA without problems. Redundancies amongst office staff are likely but these would have happened with or without the involvement of BA or another airline.
To get the agreement, IAG had to offer to give back fourteen slots at Heathrow as opposed to the original ten that they said they would give up initially. Twelve of these are earmarked for domestic and European routes where BA would have a monopoly.
Since BA has also had to agree to specific terms to facilitate interlining of passengers from competing airlines to its domestic services, which was a major concern for Virgin, I wonder which airline is going to come forward and offer to start flying from Heathrow to Edinburgh or Glasgow.
BMI could not make a profit on those routes – even with the clout of Lufthansa and the Star Alliance behind them. I doubt that any airline would see much potential in such routes.
What about Virgin who claimed to be so concerned about the loss of the Scottish routes? Surely now is the time for Richard Branson to put his money where his mouth was…