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20 APRIL 2015

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Article from BTNews 20 APRIL 2015

European airline’s BA loss

International Airlines Group (IAG) subsidiaries British Airways and Iberia have quit the Association of European Airlines (AEA) of which BA was a founder member as British European Airways (BEA), after disagreeing with the policy of other members towards competition.

IAG said in a statement that both BA and Iberia were withdrawing from membership because its position on "some important policy issues" no longer aligned with those of other AEA airlines.

"We believe global liberalisation of our industry is fundamental to our future growth and we are not willing to compromise on this fundamental matter," IAG said in the statement.

IAG has a history of calling for aviation markets to be liberalised, pitting it against some rivals lobbying against fast-growing Gulf carriers such as Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, which they say benefit from unfair state aid.

Since January IAG have been partially owned by Qatar Airways, which bought a 9.9% stake in the group for just over £1bn.

IAG's competitors Air France-KLM and Lufthansa, which are members of AEA, as well as some US airlines, complain Gulf carriers are benefiting from unfair subsidies such as interest-free government loans and cheap fuel. www.aea.be

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