British Airways and BMI deal puts 1,200 jobs at risk

BMI and BA planes at Heathrow The deal will give IAG control of more than half the landing slots at Heathrow

British Airways owner IAG has said its deal to buy the BMI airline from Lufthansa for £172.5m could result in the loss of up to 1,200 jobs.

The announcement came as BA began consultations with unions on plans to integrate BMI into its operations.

IAG, which also owns Spain's Iberia, will gain 56 more slots at Heathrow airport as part of the deal.

The Unite union said it was saddened by the proposed job losses and would seek to mitigate the impact of the cuts.

"Unite will be fighting to maintain as many jobs as possible and ensure that where vacancies exist people can be placed into suitable roles within BA," said national officer Oliver Richardson.

The pilots' union, Balpa, said it would allocate "all the resources at its disposal" to support pilots affected by the takeover.

Loss making

The sale of BMI to IAG was announced in December and regulatory approval was granted by the European Commission on 30 March.

The deal is expected to take effect on 20 April, IAG said.

BMI employs more than 3,600 staff, but reported a £153m loss in the year to 2010.

Based in Castle Donington in Leicestershire, it operates flights to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

It has 8.5% of the landing slots at Heathrow, the UK's busiest airport.

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