IAG's Willie Walsh sees opportunities outside of Europe

Tuesday 17 September 2013 11.47
IAG chief Willie Walsh says not afraid of taking on unions in Iberia
IAG chief Willie Walsh says not afraid of taking on unions in Iberia

IAG, parent of British Airways and Spain's Iberia, will not take part in any European airline consolidation and sees more interesting opportunities elsewhere, its chief executive said.

"We don't see anything attractive to buy or merge with in Europe at the moment," Willie Walsh, IAG's CEO, told the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London today.

"There may be more opportunities globally, outside Europe, but we're not looking to do anything with Qantas at the moment,' he added.

Qantas, the Australian airline, announced a tie-up with Dubai's flagship carrier Emirates a year ago, ending its 17-year alliance with British Airways.

Walsh also said he would not shirk from taking on unions opposed to reforms at Iberia. He said in June that the Spanish flag carrier was in a critical state and an overhaul of the airline last year, which led to more than 3,000 job cuts, was just the beginning.

"I'm not employed to have fun," he said. "If it means taking on unions again then so be it, it's my job."

He said there was no agreement yet with Spanish pilots' union Sepla. Workers at Iberia called off further strikes earlier this year after IAG accepted a government-appointed mediator's proposal to fire fewer people and soften pay cuts, but Sepla remains opposed to the new terms.