British Airways boss Willie Walsh has drawn up 12 airlines as potential acquisition targets once BA’s merger with Iberia is complete, it emerged today.
The list, which has been compiled following discussions with colleagues at the Spanish flag carrier, is thought to include budget airlines as well as full-service carriers in countries such as Brazil, India and China.
Mr Walsh, who will head up International Airlines Group (IAG) following the completion of the BA-Iberia tie-up later this year, has already made clear that the new business will look at further consolidation in the industry.
He said: “We started with a list of about 40 airlines that could be attractive to us and we narrowed it down to 12.
“The ambition of International Airlines Group is to consolidate this industry further and that is why we didn’t call the combined company something like BA-Iberia,” Mr Walsh said in Mumbai yesterday at the launch of a code-sharing agreement with Kingfisher.
According to the Times newspaper, analysts have speculated that Mr Walsh could be interested in carriers such as Qantas, Cathay Pacific, American, LAN and South African.
However, foreign ownership restrictions in many countries would make it hard to buy some of those targeted.
BA and Iberia will continue to operate under their existing brands but will be owned by IAG.