British Airways is planning to merge with Qantas before Iberia, according to The Times.
The deal would involve the creation of a dual-listed corporate structure between itself and Qantas, followed by the merger with Iberia.Sources at BA told the newspaper that there is no obstacle to Iberia joining the BA-Qantas combination.
The dual-listed companies structure would entail Qantas keeping its Australian listing and have a majority of Australian shareholders, as would BA in the UK. However the two airlines would form a single economic unit with shared management, dividends and directors.
Under the BA plan, Iberia would merge with the European half of the dual-listed group.
BA is also courting favour with Caja Madrid, the savings bank that is a key Iberia shareholder, in an effort to persuade the Spanish airline to join a three-way merger with Qantas. Caja Madrid has close links to the Madrid regional government, which is eager to ensure routes from Madrid are protected.