The £5 billion merger between British Airways, once the flag carrier of a nation, and Spanish national airline Iberia is to go ahead by December, according to UK press reports.
Truly depressing is that the new holding company will be known as “International Airlines”.
“International Airlines” is the kind of name that looks better when it’s emblazoned on the side of ratty, oil-stained propeller-driven freighter aircraft doing short-haul grunt work out of dodgy international airports in the Caribbean. Lucky, then, that both airlines will continue to fly under their respective colours. For now, anyway.
The more pressing question is whether the merger will save them? Both airlines are on the ropes. BA is expected to post a pre-tax loss of about £578m according to Reuters poll, while Iberia posted €435m pre-tax loss in 2009.
At one time, the proposed merger – which has been on the cards for some time – was presented in such a way it made British Airways look like the winner while helping out an ailing Iberia. Not anymore, not after strikes, massive financial losses and a slew of cancelled flights over Easter. The Times reports from London that should Iberia be unhappy with BA’s pension recovery plan, it reserves the right to walk away from the deal.
Still, given the continuing troubles in the airline business, maybe the merger is the only way forward.
Of course, if appearances really are everything, that will leave Virgin Atlantic as Great Britain’s national airline – Virgin already has the Union Jack on its tailfins.
Sir Richard must be laughing most heartily.
1) International Airlines is the name of the holding company not the airline, they will keep their names and brands
2) Virgin is 49% owned by Singapore Airlines so hardly British National carrier!!
Like I said, appearances are everything. Virgin has the Union Jack. That’s what the public will see and remember, not that Singapore owns 49%. As for the BA/Iberia merger, if the numbers look bad then chances are it probably won’t happen anyway.
Victory for the Armada, finally. But will goats be allowed as carry-on baggage on future BA flights?
Big shame. Is there an acronym for Iberia? Formerly Sabena, from Belgium, used to be ‘Such A Bad Experience Never Again’. Perhaps ‘I Bet Every Route Is Appalling’? There has to be a better one…
Oh, and I did fly with them once. From Dakar to Madrid in 1995. Quite dreadful, and never again.
I flew with them twice and it was memorable for its unpleasantness. That said, being crammed into the rear bulkhead row on any A340 is going to be miserable, not matter which airline, something which I have learned time and again on numerous flights since.