Belfast Telegraph

Branson: flight prices set to soar

Some fares could rise and some flights could be cut if British Airways' parent company is allowed to take over UK airline bmi, Virgin Atlantic boss Sir Richard Branson said today.

The proposed takeover by the International Airlines Group (IAG) would "take British flying back to the dark ages", Sir Richard added. His comments came as Virgin submitted a formal complaint to the EC about the IAG-bmi proposal.

Virgin said if the merger was approved three key domestic routes to and from Heathrow would become BA "monopoly routes" - Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester.

It added that competition would also be "eradicated to some popular European destinations" with BA having the opportunity and the means to "increase fares dramatically and reduce flights on these routes".

Virgin said two million domestic passengers would face price increases. Sir Richard added: "The regulators cannot allow BA to sew up UK flying and squeeze the life out of the travelling public."