Willie Walsh, CEO of the newly formed International Airline Group, has received a royal decoration from the King of Spain.
The former British Airways CEO was awarded the Encomienda de Número of the Spanish Order of Isabella the Catholic, along with Iberia’s CEO Antonio Vázquez at the Spanish Embassy in London.
Spain’s UK ambassador Charles Casajuana, who presented the honours, said the award recognises Walsh and Vázquez’ “personal engagement in the successful completion of the BA-Iberia merger”.
Casajuana said the tie-up “undoubtedly will contribute to enhance the profound bilateral relations between our two countries”.
BA’s Walsh said: “Our merger was created from the positive relationship that British Airways and Iberia have had for more than a decade.
“However that is nothing compared to the long and fruitful relationship between the United Kingdom and Spain and I’m delighted that IAG can enhance that relationship even further”.
Walsh added that it was a “tremendous honour” to receive the award, which he said he accepted on behalf of everyone who had worked to make the merger possible.
In a similar sentiment, Iberia’s Vázquez said the honour belonged to all IAG employees: “For all of us this is a strong incentive to build upon our position as a world leader in the airline industry.”
The Spanish Order of Isabella the Catholic recognises people for their “extraordinary civil actions” that benefit the Spanish nation or make a significant contribution in promoting cooperation between Spain and the international community.