(AFP) – Apr 15, 2012
LONDON — Virgin Atlantic on Sunday said it planned to appeal an EU decision to approve the takeover of airline bmi by IAG, the parent group of British Airways, claiming that the deal harms competition.
"Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic today announced that it will appeal the European Commission's decision to pass IAG's takeover of bmi after waving through the deal in just 35 working days," a company statement said.
"The airline believes the deal will cause serious competitive harm at Heathrow, placing British Airways in a position of total market dominance at the world's busiest airport and completely eroding consumer choice."
Branson, whose Virgin Group owns 51 percent of Virgin Atlantic, added in the statement: "We will challenge every aspect of this process, which if allowed to stand will undoubtedly damage the British airline industry for years to come.
"The European Commission has seemingly ignored all of the strong cases made by politicians, business groups and airlines to enable one big company to become even more bloated."
International Airlines Group (IAG) was attracted to British airline bmi by its takeoff and landing slots at London's Heathrow -- Europe's biggest airport in terms of passenger traffic.
IAG -- formed in 2011 from the merger of BA and Spanish airline Iberia -- had agreed last November to purchase bmi from its previous German owner Lufthansa for £172.5 million (209 million euros, $273 million).
BA meanwhile last week said that the recent takeover of loss-making bmi by IAG would result in the loss of up to 1,200 jobs.
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