29 November 2010

Shareholders of British Airways (BA) and Iberia backed the £4 billion merger of the two airlines, clearing the last significant hurdle before the deal’s scheduled completion in January 2010. The merger, which now only requires legal formalities to be finalised, will create Europe’s second largest carrier by market value after Air France-KLM.

 The two brands will be retained by the newly created International Airlines Group (IAG), which will be registered and headquarted in Spain, but listed in and run from Britain. Competition regulators on both sides of the Atlantic have already given permission for the merger to go ahead.

 The BA side of the deal was backed by 99% of shareholders at a meeting in London. BA shareholders will hold 56% of the merged company and Willie Walsh will retain his position as Chief Executive. Iberia shareholders get 44% and its president Antonio Vazquez, will become the Chairman.

 While the two airlines have lost money during the downturn in the year to March 2010, BA boasted revenues of £8 billion with Iberia turning over £3.7 billion in 2009. Both airlines have carried a combined 57.5 million passengers.