BA owner IAG doubts it can sell BMI Baby and Regional

BMI jet
Image caption If BMI Baby and BMI Regional cannot be sold they could be shut down

The new owner of BMI doubts it will be able to sell its BMI Baby and Regional units, putting jobs in those units under threat.

IAG, the company that owns British Airways and Iberia, always said it was not interested in owning the two units.

It received a "significant price reduction" for its BMI purchase for agreeing to take the low-cost and regional businesses as well.

IAG boss Willie Walsh has now said he is "not confident" about selling them.

"These are airlines that Lufthansa struggled to sell but we are going to make an effort to sell them," he added.

About 330 people are employed at BMI Regional and 470 at BMI Baby.

IAG has previously said that if it cannot sell the two units it will shut them down, but now says that it is reviewing all of its options and that talk of job losses would be premature.

British Airways has said the merger will lead to the loss of up to 1,200 jobs, and that it has begun consultations with unions, but that does not include jobs at BMI Baby or Regional.

When IAG struck the original deal with Lufthansa, the German airline had the option to sell both BMI Baby and BMI Regional before the deal was completed.

However, as it did not, IAG got a discount on the takeover.

It bought BMI for its main airline, which owns valuable slots at Heathrow Airport.

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