British Airways and Iberia shareholders have voted in favour of a £5 billion merger of the two airlines.
BA, which operates out of Gatwick, Heathrow and various other UK airports, and the Spanish carrier will fall under their new parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), which has been created by the merger.
The deal, which is expected to be completed by January 21, will signal the end of BA shares being listed on the London Stock Market, with IAG taking its place.
However, both airlines will keep their individual identities, with IAG’s head office situated in London and the company’s annual meetings being held in Madrid.
The merged airline will have 408 aircraft carrying approximately 57 million passengers a year, while the two carriers have more than 57,000 staff and fly to more than 250 destinations.
The merger will allow BA better access to the South American market. At present, BA flies to only three South American destinations – Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil and Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Iberia also flies to these three cities, but also operates flights to eight other South American destinations. Similarly, Iberia will benefit from BA’s extensive North American operations, with the two carriers able to share information on fares, schedules and routes.
Shortly before Iberia’s shareholders met in Madrid, BA chairman Martin Broughton told his company’s shareholders at a meeting in Westminster that the merger had a “compelling, strategic and financial logic” and would benefit staff, passengers and shareholders.
Copyright Press Association 2010