British Airways And Iberia Airlines Pilots Have Struck Merger Agreement <


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British Airways And Iberia Airlines Pilots Have Struck Merger Agreement

Steve Hall

March 31, 2010 – As British Airways and Iberia Airlines work out completion of the two companies merging, the 5,000 pilots in British Airways and Iberia Airlines welcomed the merging of their two airlines but warned that they will be on their guard against one pilot group being played off against the other.

In a joint statement sent to all pilots the two pilot unions BALPA (British Airline Pilots' Association) and SEPLA said they expect the merger process to be completed by the end of this year or the beginning of next.

'Our two unions have been working closely together over the past couple of years,' the statement says, 'to ensure that the interests of all pilots are protected in the merged company.'

An initial mutuality agreement was signed in 2008 and a second more detailed agreement should be signed off next month. “This agreement is designed to safeguard the jobs and career opportunities of all pilots, to establish even stronger links between our two associations and to guard against any future attempts to play off one group of pilots against the other.” 

Iberia Airlines is the flag carrier airline of Spain. Based in Madrid, it operates an international network of services. Its main bases are Madrid-Barajas Airport and Barcelona El Prat Airport. Iberia Airlines fly to over 102 destinations in 39 countries. Via code-sharing arrangements with other companies, it offers flights to another 90 destinations. 

In November 2009, Iberia Airlines had confirmed that it had reached a preliminary agreement to merge with British Airways. The merger between the two carriers will create the world's third-largest airline in terms of revenue. Both airlines are expected to sign all merger agreements by end 2010 or beginning 2011. In a board meeting on March 23, 2010, British Airways and Iberia Airlines reported the two companies would sign a merger agreement by the end Of March.


“We have always said that we plan to sign the merger agreement in the first quarter of 2010,” BA spokeswoman Cathy West said. A spokesperson for Iberia Airlines stated the March 31 deadline for the merger is still valid. 

It has been reported that the merger deal announced in November contained a clause that would allow Iberia to back out of the merger if British Airways failed to produce a “satisfactory” plan to reduce its $5.5 billion pension deficit. 

British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom. BA has its headquarters in Waterside near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport and is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations. 

At present BA’s cabin crew (flight attendants) are on strike and it appears there is no end in sight. Employees working for British Airways are represented by a number of unions which include BALPA, who represent pilots and Unite the Union for other employees. Relations have been very turbulent between BA and Unite, particularly in 2009 with regard to proposed changes to working conditions for cabin crew.

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