British Airways to be soon owned by...the Spanish state?

A British Airways Boeing 737 at London Gatwick airport

A British Airways Boeing 737 at London Gatwick airport

One of the side-effects of the economic and financial turmoil in Spain might be none other than British Airways falling back into government hands...but in the hands of the Spanish state this time!

How's that?

The main shareholder of British Airways' parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG) is non other than Bankia, formerly Cajamadrid (Madrid's savings bank before the latest reform of the Spanish financial system), with over 12% of IAG's capital (a vestige of the times when Cajamadrid was one of Iberia's main shareholders). The fact is that Bankia is in deep financial trouble, so deep that all points towards a bail out and nationalization by the Spanish government, who would then, through the back door, control 12% of IAG...

But before you start fretting about a new Spanish Armada taking over the British flag carrier, have a look at IAG's consolidated accounts and you will see that British Airways is bringing in all of IAG's profit  (is losing less money than Iberia), whatever happens, I would expect Willie Walsh to remain firmly in command!