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Talks between BA and Iberia take off after summer break

BRITISH AIRWAYS&rsquo; (BA) chief financial officer Keith Wiliams said yesterday that talks with Spanish flag carrier Iberia had stepped up a gear, over a year after a possible tie-up was first announced.<br /><br />In a weekly newsletter, Williams told staff : &ldquo;We have met the Iberia management team on a few occasions now and the talks have picked up pace&rdquo;.<br /><br />Talks between Iberia and BA, which is also seeking a tie-up with American Airlines, floundered after the downturn saw BA&rsquo;s burdensome pension deficit jump.<br /><br />But Williams said yesterday that analysts are now seeing the benefits for Iberia in a merger.<br /><br />The appointment of Antonio Vazquez Romero as chairman in July is also thought to have helped rekindle the talks.<br /><br />Meanwhile, BA said yesterday it would get rid of all temporary staff and slash 125 jobs. <br /><br />It is looking to axe 2,000 jobs overall, as it strives to cut costs, and warned that compulsory redundancies may be necessary if the airline doesn&rsquo;t hit its target. Just 140 staff have accepted voluntary redundancy so far. <br /><br />Talks with unions have been ongoing over the summer, but have frequently broken down as the two sides failed to reach agreement.