BA-Iberia target 12 other airlines: reports

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British Airways and Iberia have identified 12 airlines as potential takeover targets once their own tie-up is finalised, as they bid to create the world's biggest carrier, newspapers reported on Monday.

BA and Spanish airline Iberia are expected to complete their merger by the end of 2010, while the pair will operate under their existing brands as part of a new London-based holding company called International Airlines Group (IAG).

"In our discussions with colleagues in Iberia we have looked at airlines around the world to identify those that would be attractive to IAG," The Times quoted BA chief executive Willie Walsh as saying.

"BA and Iberia believe in consolidation and, in creating IAG, we want to make sure it is scalable. We want it to have a structure that would make it attractive to other airlines that might want to join us."

According to the FT, not all of the dozen identified airlines would be pursued, amid foreign-ownership restrictions in many countries.

But "others would be possible almost immediately", said Walsh, according to the FT.

Walsh, speaking over the weekend in Mumbai, refused to name the airlines and said no discussions had been held with potential targets.

According to The Times, analysts said BA-Iberia could be interested in Qantas, Cathay Pacific, American, LAN and South African.

© 2010 AFP

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