The next few days should see an Aberdeen-based consortium finally clinch control of the regional arm of BMI, with its present owners IAG.
Talks between Granite Aviation and IAG are said to be at an advanced stage, with a final announcement on the structure of the deal likely within the next fortnight.
BMI Regional is already based in Aberdeen, operating 19 aircraft throughout many of the smaller airports across the UK. IAG were wondering what to do with the division, thinking it unlikely they would secure a deal to sell.
Speaking just last week, IAG boss Willie Walsh now said that he was “not confident” that BMI Regional or sister low-fare division BMI Baby would attract viable bids.
Earlier this year, British Airways owners IAG secured the purchase of BMI, purely because of the landing slots it grants them at London Heathrow.
The deal with Granite should secure most of the 300 jobs at BMI regional, though what is to happen to BMI Baby is still unclear.
Many low cost and regional airlines have been struggling of late, with rising taxes, fuel cost and taxes and the escalation of Airport Passenger Duty. Securing investment is difficult because of the continued problems, though invoice factoring is helping some.
The industry as a whole is in an uncertain situation, but for those able to maintain themselves through acquisitions as with IAG and BMI, there could be significant growth in the years ahead.
Once the deal is complete, the BMI brand is also likely to pass on to Granite, as and when IAG phases it out.