An end of an era for British Airways

British Airways has ended almost a quarter of a century of trading on the stock exchange ahead of its merger with Spain’s Iberia.

From Monday, the shares will trade as International Airlines Group, the new trading name after the all-share merger between the two carriers.

BA and Iberia will retain their brands as part of the £5.3bn merger, which is expected to make synergy saving of around €400 million a year within five years.

The combined group will operate 419 aircraft flying to 205 destinations and will be Europe’s second biggest airline by market value after Lufthansa.

The group plans to aggressively expand through further acquisitions and has already drawn up a wish list of 12 companies it is interested in buying.

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Willie Walsh will step down as chief executive of BA to take up the same role at IAG in a move that will see his basic pay increase 12 percent from £735,000 to £825,000 a year.

BA chairman Sir Martin Broughton will remain in the post after the tie-up, but will also become deputy chairman of IAG and will earn €350,000 and an extra €175,000 due to extra responsibilities of merging the two firms.

BA shares made their stock market debut on 11 February 1987 at 125p a share – the IPO was ten times oversubscribed. However the shares have performed poorly, and now stand just over 126 percent higher than in 1987. Meanwhile the FTSE 100 has risen 213 percent over the same period.

Shares closed on Friday at 282.5p. Their all time high was reached in 1997 when they hit 760p – but have never recovered from subsequent shocks including 9/11 and the global downturn.