<strong>Q. HOW MANY AIRCRAFT, STAFF AND PASSENGERS?</strong><strong></strong><br />A. Combined, the carrier will have 419 aircraft and carry 62m passengers. Based on the 42,000 staff that BA currently employs and the 21,600 of Iberia, it will employ 63,600 staff, but headcount is expected to drop at a merged group.<br /><br /><strong>Q. THEY&rsquo;VE BEEN IN TALKS FOR OVER A YEAR. WHAT&rsquo;S TAKEN THEM SO LONG?</strong><br />A. Discussions have stuttered along since they were announced in summer 2008. First, BA&rsquo;s merger talks with Qantas &ndash; which subsequently fell apart &ndash; caused a ruckus. Then, disappointing figures from BA led to a fall-out over who would own what stake in a joint company. Strike threats at BA and a looming pension deficit &ndash; thought to be bigger than its market capitalisation &ndash; have also given Iberia cause for concern.<br /><br />Talks looked like they had fallen apart permanently, but new Iberia chairman Antonio Vazquez joined in July, and reignited discussions.<br /><br /><strong>Q. WILL WE LOSE THE ICONIC BA TAIL LOGO?</strong><br />A. No. While a tie-up would see both airlines running together financially, their branding will be separate. BA&rsquo;s Union Jack tail fin will still be the emblem for the carrier, and their names will stay separate, too.<br /><br /><strong>Q. IS IT A GOOD IDEA?</strong><br />A. A merger will give BA and Iberia more muscle, as they try to compete with budget carriers. It will also mean cost-savings and greater buying power on aircraft, fuel, ITand other major costs.<br /><br /><strong>Q. BA AND IBERIA ALREADY CODE SHARE. WHAT&rsquo;S CHANGING?</strong><br />A. Right now, BA owns 13.5 per cent of Iberia, and the airlines have an agreement on code-sharing, which allows them to sell seats on one-another&rsquo;s services. Following the merger, Iberia will own 45 per cent of the combined company, and BA 55 per cent. BA is also waiting to get the go-ahead from the US government on a looser tie-up with American Airlines. If all goes to plan, BA, AA and Iberia will confer on fares and scheduling.<br /><br /><strong>Q. HOW MANY DESTINATIONS WILL IT FLY TO?</strong><br />A. A combined carrier would fly to 205 destinations giving BA customers access to up to 59 new destinations, many in Latin America. Iberia&rsquo;s customers will gain up to 98 new destinations.<br />