BA to merge with Qantas?

Heathrow planes Reports suggest BA is considering a merger with Qantas, a move which may herald a rash of consolidation in the airline sector.

The BBC reports that the Australian Government is prepared to relax rules requiring Qantas to be majority australian owned in order to allow the merger to proceed.

In a statement, BA said that the merger would be through the creation of a dual-listed company, so it would be listed in London and Australia. They also confirmed that merger discussions with Iberia were continuing.

The future of Qantas has been uncertain since an 11bn Australian dollar ($7.1bn; £4.8bn) bid for it from Airline Partners Australia (APA) collapsed last year due to lack of support from shareholders. While the move looks more like a BA takeover than a merger, BA held 18% of Qantas until selling the stake in 2004, it has ignited speculation about the future of jobs at Heathrow's BA locations. Unite said "this union's immediate concern is the future employment prospects of our 25,000 members who form the majority of BA employees. "

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