Walsh eyes US airline deal

 
Kasmira Jefford
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THE COMPANY behind British Airways is close to appointing an adviser in an attempt to protect its north Atlantic joint venture with American Airlines.

The debt-laden US carrier filed for bankruptcy in November last year and could soon become subject to takeover approaches by US Airways and Delta.

Willie Walsh, IAG’s group chief executive, is understood to be evaluating options including buying a stake in American Airlines, in order to block a rival approach.

IAG’s revenue sharing agreement with American Airlines involves co-ordinating flight schedules to offer a more frequent service, in particular for business customers.

A successful bid by Delta or US Airways would put that relationship at risk, threatening the frequency of BA flights to and from America.

A spokesperson for IAG declined to comment yesterday.