BA, Iberia plan future buy outs

WITH their merger not even finalised, British Airways (BA) and Iberia are already drawing up plans for future acquisitions, with 12 secret targets currently listed.

BA’s and the future BA-Iberia’s (International Airlines Group) chief executive officer, Willie Walsh, said: “In our discussions with colleagues in Iberia we have looked at airlines around the world to identify those that would be attractive to IAG. BA and Iberia believe in consolidation and, in creating IAG, we want to make sure it is scalable. We want it to have a structure that would make it attractive to other airlines that might want to join us.

“We started with a list of about 40 airlines that could be attractive to us and we narrowed it down to 12. The ambition of International Airlines Group is to consolidate this industry further and that is why we didn’t call the combined company something like BA-Iberia.”

Although Walsh did not reveal any of the targets, suggestions (both likely and unlikely) have so far included American, Cathay Pacific, LAN, Qantas and South African.

Walsh and American’s chief executive officer Glenn Tilton are keen for pushing that avenue but US ownership laws prevent that for the time being.

Qantas’s chief executive officer, Alan Joyce, is not so keen on a merger.

The news was treated with scepticism by many airline heads, many suggesting that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’.

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