Both British Airways (BA) and Qantas Airways confirmed reports that BA is exploring a potential merger with Qantas via a dual-listed company structure. BA also said discussions between British Airways and Iberia are continuing. “There is no guarantee that any transaction will be forthcoming and a further announcement will be made in due course, if appropriate,” BA said in a statement.
Qantas also confirmed that it is exploring a potential merger. “Any transaction would also comply fully with Qantas' obligations under the Qantas Sale Act and Australia's International Air Services Agreements,” the airline said. A deal would be subject to Australian and UK approvals.
According to a Reuters story in the New York Times, however, the talks may not lead to a merger. In the article, Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce is quoted as saying that he would only proceed if major revenue and cost benefits for Qantas were assured and that he was not yet able to give such an assurance. “There is a reasonable chance that this might not go ahead,” Mr. Joyce told reporters on Monday. The article also says that British Airways is also in merger talks with Spain’s Iberia to form the world’s third-largest airline, but Mr. Joyce told Reuters that a BA-Iberia combination would not go ahead if Qantas and BA merged.