International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) that was created after the merger of British Airways and Iberia made its debut today at the stock market with a valuation of £6.1 billion. IAG shares started trading at 8 a.m. in London, which is the company’s main listing. The company will also be listed in Madrid.
British Airways ended its 24 years of trading on the stock exchange. From Monday, the airline’s shares will be traded under the name of International Airlines Group.
BA and the Spanish giant Iberia will both retain its brand names as part of the deal that is supposed to make them collectively the second largest airline by value after Germany’s Lufthansa. Both the airlines are expected to benefit hugely with the merger as they are likely to save 400 million euros a year by its fifth year of collaboration. Other than that, IAG will now have more than 400 aircrafts and is expected to handle passenger travel traffic of 60 million people annually. IGA will now maintain a network of flights that will connect to more than 200 destinations around the globe.
BA and Iberia also complement each other in terms of operations and especially long-haul flights. British Airways has a major presence in North Atlantic and Iberia is a popular option between Europe and Latin America. Add to it the anti-trust immunity awarded to both the airlines as well as American Airlines for their transatlantic business.
IAG has no plans to rest as it hopes to expand further through some aggressive acquisitions in the near future including some even outside Europe. IAG’s chief executive Willie Walsh believes that the merger is going to be the perfect springboard for further growth of the company.
BA’s Cabin Crew Votes for Strike
However, everything is not hunky dory for the UK’s flag carrier as BA’s cabin crew voted overwhelming in support of another strike as the showdown between Unite and the airline continues. This could be bad news for those travellers who have already landed up with cheap tickets on flights for their Easter vacations. With long weekends of Easter and the royal wedding in April, cheap tickets on flights are indeed few and far between.
Unite’s General Secretary-designate Len McCluskey appealed to BA for negotiations and was quoted by internet sources as stating, “Surely BA management must now wake up and listen to the voice of their skilled and dedicated employees.”
However, BA refuted the union claims of majority support of the cabin crew. “Unite has lost about 2,500 cabin crew members since this dispute started, as crew have voted with their feet. Even with a smaller membership, the proportion of Unite members supporting disruption continues to fall, contrary to the union’s claims,” the airline said in a statement.
British Airways insists that even in the event of strike ticket holders shall not be troubled and it will be able to operate almost normal timetables from different airports.