BMI Regional sold to Aberdeen consortium

BMI jet BMI Regional operates 18 jets on scheduled services throughout the UK and northern Europe

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Airline BMI Regional has been sold to an Aberdeen-based consortium for £8m in cash.

International Airlines Group (IAG) said it had signed a binding agreement to sell the division to Sector Aviation Holdings Ltd (SAH).

The sale includes all of BMI Regional's fixed assets and liabilities, including owned and operating lease aircraft.

The Aberdeen-based airline operates 18 regional jets on scheduled services throughout the UK and northern Europe.

The sale, which is conditional on Civil Aviation Authority approval, is expected to be completed within two weeks.

SAH will take on the BMI brand and the flybmi.com website as part of the deal.

IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: "This deal provides a future for BMI Regional and should secure around 330 jobs".

Sector Aviation is a consortium of businessmen with a background in aviation, including a group known previously as Granite Aviation.

It is led by Ian Woodley and Graeme Ross, who set up the regional division in Aberdeen in the 1980s, when it was known as Business Air.

The new owners, who are being backed by the family that used to own Bond Helicopters, hope to develop the regional network with new routes, but first aim to consolidate its current operations.

The regional division of BMI was put up for sale by British Airways owner IAG following its recent takeover of the larger BMI airline.

IAG said at the time it had no plans to keep operating the regional division and low-fare BMI Baby.

Loss-making Bmi Baby faces grounding by September unless a buyer can be found.

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