IT’s often said that bad things come in threes. Willie Walsh knows this to be true. A volcanic ash cloud, crazy cabin crew strikes and a government implacably opposed to airport expansion have conspired to make recent weeks a disaster for BA.

With the Iberia tie-up tantalisingly close, Walsh should be celebrating. Instead he is firefighting issues that are beyond his control.

The “buy” case for BA?remains compelling. Its recent full-year results showed both passenger and cargo yields improving markedly in the fourth quarter.

And the Iberia deal, while by no means copper-bottomed, is likely to pull through. Day after day of bad headlines are depressing the share price, meaning bargain hunters could be in luck (RBS’ target price is 300p; BA closed at 184p yesterday afternoon).

But buying BA is always going to be a gamble on whether the nascent recovery is about to turn into something more full bodied. The markets suggest it won’t. Investors should sit tight.