Aer Lingus owner IAG open to pursuing more airline acquisitions

Aer Lingus owner IAG remains open to making more airline purchases, chief executive Willie Walsh said yesterday, although no further takeovers are on the immediate agenda.

Speaking at the 2016 Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Conference in Dublin yesterday, Mr Walsh said he remains acquisition-focused and that “there are a lot more deals for IAG to do”, though the company, whose holding structure was specifically designed to make takeovers easier, is not actively pursuing any one transaction right now.

“If the right opportunity came along we’d certainly look at it,” said Mr Walsh.

“The deals we’ve done have been very good for IAG.”

Formed from a BA-Iberia merger in 2011, IAG has gone on to buy the former British Midland, control of Spanish discount carrier Vueling, and most recently Aer Lingus — which he said could add more US flights from Dublin.

Mr Walsh also said British Airways is examining the scope for the reinstatement of services to Iran following the end of sanctions over their nuclear programme, and is likely to take a decision in the “near future.”

Mr Walsh said last Thursday he had signed a joint venture pact according to which IAG will seek antitrust approval for BA and sister unit Iberia of Spain to co-ordinate schedules and pricing with Latam Airlines Group SA, the biggest South American carrier.

He had said in October such a deal might pave the way for an equity link in the more distant future.


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