Virgin Atlantic Airways said it would appeal an European Union decision to approve British Airways owner IAG's takeover of British regional airline bmi, which Virgin had sought to buy itself.

The European Commission agreed the takeover last month, saying IAG's concessions, which included a pledge to give up landing slots at London's Heathrow airport, Europe's busiest, were sufficient to address competition concerns.

But Virgin boss Richard Branson challenged this in a statement on Sunday, saying the deal would limit consumer choice.

He added that Virgin would bid for the slots being put up for sale.

(Reporting by Tom Bergin; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)