Iberia gives BA ultimatum after Qantas announcement

The CEO of Iberia has said
British Airways
must choose between his carrier and
as it would be “too complex” to pursue both deals.

Speaking at the UK Aviation Club in London, Fernando Conte also said he had no idea BA was entering merger talks with Qantas till a mere hour before the announcement was made public.
“I don’t have too much information about what has happened between BA and Qantas since August,” he told a meeting of the UK Aviation Club in London.

“I knew about it one hour before it was published, when Willie Walsh called me and informed me they were having discussions.

“We have on our agenda a pending meeting to clarify what we are talking about.”

Iberia has been in merger talks with BA since July, puting aside merger interest from both Lufthansa and Air France-KLM.


An Anglo-Spanish merger is seen by analysts as more beneficial in the short term than the more complex Qantas deal, including a number of immediate cost savings and synergies.

BA and Iberia have a fraught relationship in spite of building commercial ties, and the Spanish carrier has previously shown its frustration at BA’s earlier lack of interest in pursuing a full merger.

Iberia has raised its stake in BA to 9.9 per cent stake in recent weeks to underline its commitment to the talks and to strengthen its negotiating power. BA already holds a 13.2 per cent stake in Iberia.