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Qantas and BA in merger talks

British Airways has issued a statement about a merger with troubled Australian airline Qantas.

The airline confirmed it is exploring a potential merger with Qantas “via a dual-listed company structure. The discussions between British Airways and Quantas are continuing,” said the statement.

“There is no guarantee that any transaction will be forthcoming and a further announcement will be made in due course, if appropriate.”

The announcement came after the Australian government indicated it might relax the rules on foreign ownership. Under current Australian law, Qantas must be at least 51% Australian-owned.

Furthermore, any individual foreign airline can only take up to a 25% stake and only 35% may be owned by foreign airlines.

But earlier this week Transport Minister Anthony Albanese proposed that that the rules should be changed so that 49% may be owned by a single foreign airline.

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