|Airline workers fear the merger will cost jobs, with BA continuing to face repeated strikes from its cabin crew [AFP]
Shares in International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), the new company founded following the merger of British Airways and Iberia, have made their stock market debut.
IAG was admitted to the Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia and London stock exchanges on Monday morning, with shares opening at $4.50 in the British capital.
The two airlines will continue to fly under their names in a deal which creates Europe's third largest airline after Lufthansa and Air France KLM.
"British Airways and Iberia are the first two airlines in IAG but they won't be the last,'' Willie Walsh, IAG's chief executive, said at the London exchange.
"Our goal is for more airlines but, importantly, the right airlines to join the group. Today is the first step towards creating a multinational multi-brand airline group," Walsh, who was previously British Airways' chief executive, added.
The merger is aimed at saving money while expanding the reach of their brands, with a combined fleet of 406 aircraft carrying around 57 million passengers a year.
Many airline workers fear the merger will cost jobs, with BA continuing to face repeated industrial action from its cabin crew.
BA staff voted on Friday to strike again in a long-running battle over proposed job and pay cuts.