Shareholders approve £4-bn BA - Iberia merger

The proposal to merge of the national carriers of Britain and Spain, BA and Iberia, into a new company, International Airlines Group (IAG), has received overwhelming support from shareholders in both countries.

The £4-billion merger of the airlines has thus cleared the last significant hurdle before the deal's scheduled completion in January 2011.

The deal now involves only legal formalities to be finalised to create Europe's second largest carrier by market value after Air France-KLM.

The two brands would be retained by the newly created International Airlines Group, registered and headquartered in Spain, but listed in and run from Britain. The plan has received the go ahead from competition regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

Britain's pensions regulator has also cleared the plan after becoming involved due to the deficit in BA's final-salary pension scheme.

The BA side of the deal received the backing of 99 per cent of shareholders at a meeting in London yesterday. The airline has long held that the deal was the right thing to do.