Willie Walsh: Covid could prompt a British Airways sell-off


British Airways could be spun off if Covid ravages it further, ex-head of parent company IAG says

British Airways could be spun off if Covid ravages it further, the ex-head of its parent company has said. 

Willie Walsh, who led BA’s owner IAG from 2011 to 2020, said splitting up the company could not be ruled out if one part of the business is underperforming. 

Tough talk: Willie Walsh led British Airways' owner IAG from 2011 to 2020

Tough talk: Willie Walsh led British Airways’ owner IAG from 2011 to 2020

BA is the biggest earner of IAG’s airlines, but its reliance on transatlantic travel has put it at a greater disadvantage than many rivals in the pandemic. 

Short-haul flights are expected to pick up much sooner than the long-distance routes BA specialises in. 

Walsh said: ‘There’s nothing to say that bits of IAG could not be sold off or cut loose. That was my thinking as CEO. If one part of the business wasn’t performing, you could dispose of that part. I don’t think that will happen, but it could.’ 

Disadvantage: Short-haul flights are expected to pick up much sooner than the long-distance routes BA specialises in

Disadvantage: Short-haul flights are expected to pick up much sooner than the long-distance routes BA specialises in

Walsh, who is head of the International Air Transport Association, said that as each of IAG’s companies has its own balance sheet, they could ‘in effect be sliced off and sold off’. 

IAG was founded through the merger of BA and Iberia in 2011.

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