BMI could be picked up by Virgin Atlantic as the former’s owner Lufthansa considers its options.

Leading airline Virgin Atlantic has shown an interest in British Midland International (BMI), after Lufthansa ramped up its efforts to offload the carrier.

A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic told the Wall Street Journal that the company had a “close interest in a combination with BMI”.

Emirates, another airline expected to show interest in the British carrier has ruled itself out of a takeover.

The firm said: “[Emirates] is focused on its own growth, and has no plans to acquire BMI or any other airline.”

Other airlines including Etihad Airways and Air France-KLM were expected to consider an acquisition of the budget carrier.

It is expected that a tie-up between BMI and Virgin Atlantic would help the latter better service its long-haul trips – including flights to Australia.

Lufthansa has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to assess its options and has already begun a shake-up of BMI’s structure, appointing a new chairman, Vagn Ove Sorensen.

Mr Sorensen is moving from Lufthansa’s Austrian Airlines.

Written by Erin Marshall

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