BA and Iberia days away from March completion of merger

BRITISH Airways (BA) and Spanish carrier Iberia are just days away from completion of their planned merger as both say they are on course for a March completion.

Expectations that the two would sign the merger yesterday were quashed after Iberia made no announcements prior to a board meeting.

The deal is expected to be completed by next week with both airlines confirming the planned signing at the end of March date.

A spokesperson at BA said: “We have always said that we plan to sign the merger agreement in the first quarter of 2010.”

The two airlines sealed the £4bn merger deal late last year, which is expected to see BA shareholders take 55 per cent of the combined group, with Iberia holding the remaining 45 per cent.

BA also further aligned its tie-in with US carrier American Airlines after winning European Commission approval for plans to give up four slots at US and UK airports.

The news of the merger will come either during or just after a second strike period planned by BA cabin crew. The second set of strikes is due to start on 27 March.