New BA shares trade after merger

British Airways embarked on a new stock market journey today following its merger with Spanish rival Iberia.

The new company's chief executive Willie Walsh and chairman Antonio Vazquez were present at the London Stock Exchange for the launch of International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG).

Shares rose 2% from the pair's joint valuation on Thursday, when BA called time on nearly 24 years of trading under its own name.

Together, Iberia and British Airways fly to more than 200 destinations on more than 400 aircraft. Last year they carried 55 million passengers.

IAG plans to expand aggressively and has already drawn up a list of 12 other airlines it will consider buying.

Mr Walsh said: "IAG has a great future ahead of it. British Airways and Iberia are the first two airlines in IAG but they won't be the last.

"Our goal is for more airlines - but, importantly, the right airlines - to join the group.

"Today is the first step towards creating a multinational multi-brand airline group."

BA will benefit from Iberia's strong presence in South America, where BA operates only a handful of routes.

The merger was officially completed on Friday, when BA also learned that its cabin crew were planning a further series of strikes.

BA was floated on the stock market on February 11 1987 at a price of 125p and was 11 times oversubscribed.

It closed on Thursday following its final day of trading under its own name at 282.5p.