British Airways ‘could be spun out’ from owner IAG, says former airlines boss

posted on 14th June 2021 by Eddie Saunders
British Airways 'could be spun out' from owner IAG, says former airlines boss

By Josh Martin,

The former chief executive of both British Airways and its parent company which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), has suggested the British flag carrier could be spun out in the wake of Covid-19.

Willie Walsh, who ran IAG up until 2020, and BA before that, told the Sunday Telegraph British Airways could be sold off to make the company leaner or to satisfy EU ownership rules.

IAG came to being through the 2011 merger of BA and Spain’s Iberia and although it is FTSE-listed, it’s registered in Madrid and its top three senior leaders are Spanish.

Walsh said: “There’s nothing to say that bits of IAG could not be sold off or cut loose.

“That was always my thinking when I was there. If one part of the business wasn’t performing, or was under­performing, or didn’t make sense, then you could dispose of that part of the business.

Walsh added: “I don’t think that will happen, but it could happen.”

The aviation boss, who now runs airline lobby group IATA, joined the chorus of travel executives crying foul over the UK Government’s traffic light system for international travel.

“I don’t think you can describe the traffic light system as being in any way effective, you know, it’s stuck on red,” Walsh told the Telegraph.

“They’ve already abandoned the criteria that they had set out where they clearly stated that they would give people a fair warning if the lights were going to change…

“Then to pull the rug from underneath people in the way they did, I think was very, very poor, and just, you know, demonstrates that they’re really not thinking about consumers or the public.”