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September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
The ceos of two of Europe's biggest airlines played down the "merger frenzy" following the Open Skies agreement between the US and the EU.Wolfgang Mayrhuber of Lufthansa and Willie Walsh of BA both said in separate interviews that their carriers were adopting "wait and see" tactics.Mr Mayrhuber, speaking to the US airline news organisation ATWOnline, said that the acquisition of both Alitalia and Iberia "would theoretically fit us."But he added: "But conditions have to be proper, otherwise one can get into financial difficulties."He said there were problems with a purchase of the Spanish national carrier as it was Iberia overpriced, was in the wrong alliance (Lufthansa is part of Star Alliance while Iberia is a member of oneworld) and BA owned 10% of it.But he made clear his airline was keeping an eye on developments, especially from the long term view."We are regularly asking ourselves if we have the right size to stay successful in a global market...but if we look further, in which direction will we go?"What role can we play in ten years' time? Will our home market be big enough in the global economy?" he said.Mr Mayrhuber also said that Lufthansa was "serious" about competition from Air Berlin, the largest no frills operator in Germany, and was "watching" some low cost carriers which were becoming more interested in the business travel market.Mr Walsh, speaking to the UK newspaper The Guardian, re-iterated that he was not interested in taking over Iberia nor had he contacted Sir Michael Bishop about buying his 50% stake in bmi.Mr Walsh said that one of Iberia's strength was its South American network which was founded on b-lateral deals between Spain and South American countries.These deals would be lost if Iberia were taken over by a non-Spanish airline.He said that BA would not take over bmi just to protect its own services to the US but would look at the situation if bmi did become available.
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