BA takeover deal in the works

British Airways and Iberia have
drawn up a shortlist of up to 12 airlines which they hope to buy or merge with
once their own tie-up has been completed.

BA boss Willie Walsh did not name
any of the airlines potentially involved.

However they are reported to
include carriers in emerging markets such as India or China.

He made the comments in Mumbai
while unveiling a code-sharing deal with India’s Kingfisher Airlines.

Mr Walsh is keen to bring airlines
together under the umbrella of the newly-created International Airlines Group
(IAG) – formed by BA and Iberia.

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“We have had a number of
meetings where we have looked at airlines around the world and identified those
that would be attractive to us,” he said.

But he added the shortlist,
whittled down from 40 carriers, was to give “focus” and that all 12
would not be pursued.

“We have not had any
discussions with any airlines. There is nothing going on at the moment.

“We want to create a platform
for like-minded airlines – those who believe that consolidation is part of the
answer for the industry.”

Mr Walsh is reportedly keen to
achieve full mergers or acquisitions rather than taking minority investments in
other airlines.

In 2008 BA failed in an attempt to
merge with Australian flag carrier Qantas.

BA has faced a tough year, partly
because of a dispute with the Unite union, whose members have held 22 days of
strike action at the airline since March.

The union is meeting this week to
discuss further action.

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