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BMI's no comment on merger rumour


UK airline BMI has declined to comment on newspaper speculation that it has been approached by Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad over a possible merger.


Etihad first went to BMI in the summer over a potential deal which values BMI at £600m, the Sunday Times reported.


The Middle East airline is also said to have spoken to Germany's Lufthansa, which owns a 30% stake in BMI.


Etihad said it had had "a number of discussions with a variety of carriers" but "no firm talks planned".


BMI operates more flights from London's main Heathrow Airport than any other airline except British Airways.


Industry-wide issues


Like almost all airlines, BMI has seen its profits trimmed this year by the continuing high price of aviation fuel.


This has led to a number of carriers seeking closer ties with rivals, such as British Airways plans for a tie-up with American Airlines.


Other carriers have faced financial problems, such as Italy's Alitalia, which is trying to secure a rescue deal.


BMI flew 10.6 million passengers last year, and operated 70 aircraft.


From the BBC online



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