Politicians united on BMI sale fears

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POLITICIANS yesterday underlined to the European Commission their fears over the impact on Scotland of the proposed sale of BMI to British Airways’ parent firm IAG.

The SNP and the Conservatives are worried the move would give BA a monopoly on all Scottish routes to Heathrow – from Edinburgh and Aberdeen, as well as its existing stranglehold from Glasgow.

Scottish MEPs, including Alyn Smith, have highlighted their concerns in a letter to European Competitions Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

Murdo Fraser, the convener of Holyrood’s economy, energy and tourism committee, has also written to both the commissioner and the Office of Fair Trading on the issue.

The Tory MSP warned: “This could lead to a monopoly situation on routes such as Aberdeen and Edinburgh to Heathrow, potentially leading to higher prices.

“The sale of BMI more generally will have implications for BMI Regional and the near 300 staff based in the north-east of Scotland”.

Virgin Atlantic, which bid unsuccessfully for BMI, has also submitted a formal complaint about the sale.