Oneworld member British Airways (BA) has reached an agreement to acquire 6 daily slot pairs at London Heathrow Airport from Star Alliance carrier BMI.

British Airways has swooped to buy take off and landing slots at Heathrow from loss-making rival BMI British Midland.

Six daily slot pairs at the capacity-squeezed London hub have been acquired by BA for an undisclosed sum.

The deal comes amid speculation over the future of BMI after owner Lufthansa hired Morgan Stanley as adviser for a potential sale.

The main attraction of BMI is that it holds about 11% of the available slots at Heathrow.

Slots at the airport are the most sought-after in the industry but rarely become available and are expensive.

BA parent company International Airlines Group said today: “IAG has approved the acquisition by British Airways of six daily slot pairs at London Heathrow from BMI British Midland International.

“The slots will be used by British Airways from late October 2011 with the airline looking to expand both its long-haul and short-haul network at the airport.”

BMI made a loss of £106 million in the first six months of this year, with BA seen as a potential suitor for the airline.

British Airways launched the world’s first daily scheduled international air service and remains the world’s leading international airline. British Airways is a full service global airline, offering year-round low fares with an extensive global route network.