The owner of British Airways has reportedly tabled a proposal to buy BMI British Midland.
BA parent International Airlines Group (IAG) is understood to be interested in acquiring the whole airline from current owner, the German flagship carrier Lufthansa.
Analysts say the move, which according to Sky News is in early discussion stages, is likely to enrage BA’s competitors over the dominant position it would hold at Heathrow, especially after IAG bought six pairs of take-off and landing slots from BMI last month.
IAG, which was formed when BA merged with Spanish carrier Iberia, would own more than half of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow if a complete acquisition goes ahead.
BMI British Midland flies from a number of regional airports, including Leeds-Bradford.
Lufthansa and IAG would not comment on the speculation.
However, IAG reiterated its interest in BMI, while Lufthansa said it was considering all options for the airline, which would include a sale.
A spokeswoman for IAG said: “We have made no secret of our interest in BMI in the past but we will not be able to comment further.”