British Airways and Iberia parent company International Airlines Group believes it can rebuff a counter bid from Virgin Atlantic for BMI.
IAG chairman Antonio Vazquez is quoted today as saying it aims to complete the deal with BMI owner Lufthansa “sooner rather than later”.
Virgin came in with a rival £50 million approach for BMI earlier this month, weeks after IAG said it had come to an initial agreement to acquire the loss-making UK airline.
The bidders are competing for the valuable take off and landing slots that BMI holds at Heathrow. Vazquez, quoted by business news agency Bloomberg, says: “I think we’ll be able to grab it for sure. The negotiations are going well and I’m very optimistic we will be able to complete the deal.”
Speaking in Madrid, Iberia chief executive Rafael Sanchez-Lozano added: “The deal is being negotiated and Lufthansa wants to get rid of BMI as soon as possible.”
IAG remains interested in buying TAP Air Portugal to add routes to Brazil but there are no negotiations as the government has not yet made a decision to sell, according to Vazquez.
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