International Airlines Group (IAG) - the parent company of British Airways - will be forced to give up a number of take-off and landing slots from Heathrow, as part of the bmi takeover. Routes to Nice, Cairo, Moscow and Edinburgh will be affected.
On gaining EC approval for the deal, IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said it was "great news for Britain" and also for British business and consumers.
The takeover has been bitterly opposed by Sir Richard Branson's airline, Virgin Atlantic, which has complained that the deal gives BA an over-strong presence at Heathrow.
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The Sherlock actor made the comment while he received an award for his humanitarian work.