British Airways, Qantas explore merger strategy
LONDON - British Airways PLC and Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd. yesterday said they are holding talks about a merger, sparking hopes of consolidation in the hard-hit aviation industry.
The companies issued statements saying they are exploring a "potential merger" with each other "via a dual-listed company structure."
Neither BA nor Qantas provided any details.
BA's chief executive, Willie Walsh, has long advocated industry consolidation, arguing that closer cooperation will help airlines cut costs in a difficult economic climate.
BA, the third-largest airline in Europe, is also pursuing a revenue-sharing deal with American Airlines and Spain's Iberia SA. It said discussions with Iberia on a potential merger are continuing.
It provided no further details on the potential deal with Qantas but confirmed that talks began in August, after it was approached by Australia's largest airline.
BA and Qantas are already code-sharing partners in the Oneworld global alliance, composed of 10 of the world's carriers, including Japan Airlines.
Budget airline Ryanair Holdings PLC Monday launched a new takeover bid for Aer Lingus, trying to capitalize on labor unrest at its Irish rival and the country's economic difficulties.