British Airways, Iberia Sign Merger

British Airways and Iberia have signed their merger agreement, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The result will be a new company, International Consolidated Airlines Group, under which the British Airways and Iberia brands will continue to operate.

According to the Times Online, "The merged group will have 408 aircraft flying to 200 destinations around the world carrying more than 58 million passengers per year. It is expected to have annual cost savings of €400 million (£350.8 million) by 2015."

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For U.S. citizens, the deal should maximize Iberia's hub in Madrid, providing greater access—or at least another option—for travelers heading to Europe. The BBC reports that "the merger will also allow the company to compete more effectively with other European giants including Air France-KLM and Germany's Lufthansa."

British Airways, of course, is embroiled in an ongoing labor dispute with its cabin crew.

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