Reacting to news of the merger between British Airways (BA) and Iberia, Bob Atkinson, travel expert at travelsupermarket.com, said:
“At the moment its hard to see how this merger, which will create the third biggest airline group in Europe, will benefit travellers, at least in the short to medium term.
“Any cost-saving benefits will only be felt by passengers if the businesses integrate quickly. But forcing through structural change and efficiency savings is exactly the challenge that has brought BA head-to-head with its staff and Unite in the current dispute; and the situation has the potential to be just as sticky in Spain. Even though both brands will be maintained, they are quite different so integrating and learning from each other will take time, we just hope one doesn’t improve at the detriment of the other.
“However, if the two airline can integrate well, in the long term the merger looks like good news for travellers as it’s all part of BA’s drive to reduce costs and improve efficiency, allowing them to offer more affordable fares. The network of destinations available when booking with BA will increase by around 40 per cent as Iberia’s extensive Latin American, Spanish Caribbean and Spanish routes are integrated into the overall offering. Expect to see better connections, improved timings and more choice of departures to and from Spain and to onward destinations.
“Finally, many have argued that the merger will allow BA to increase prices to passengers, however the airline market between the UK and Spain is already one of the most competitive in the world with a rash of low cost carriers operating routes. Already one of the fiercest markets in which to operate, higher prices would inevitably lead to customers moving to alternative carriers.”