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Aer Lingus keen to buy additional London Heathrow slots

Leading Irish carrier Aer Lingus recently indicated that it is keen to buy additional London Heathrow slots falling vacant after the proposed takeover of Lufthansa-owned British Midland International (BMI) by Willie Walsh-led International Airline Group (IAG).

Christoph Mueller, Chief Executive of Aer Lingus, has shown his interest in the slots falling vacant in the wake of the proposed acquisition of BMI by IAG or BMI going into receivership. He said that London Heathrow has a huge catchment area and his company wants to pull more transfer traffic to long haul Aer Lingus flights.

According to Mueller, Aer Lingus has limited growth opportunities in Ireland, but the weakness of the Irish market can be compensated by increasing the airline’s transfer traffic. Aer Lingus’ transfer traffic is growing and long haul is also doing very well, Mueller said. 

The European Commission is currently reviewing the IAG-BMI deal.

Presently, Aer Lingus operates 24 daily take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow, of which it owns 23.

Mueller also said that Aer Lingus hopes to achieve profitability in 2012, but this depends on the fuel prices.

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