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Willie Walsh got a new job this month: the Irish government hired the British Airways supremo as chairman of advisers to its state debt agency. And the latest evidence of the impact of Mr Walsh’s drastic cost-cutting at International Airlines Group (IAG) suggests the Irish couldn’t have found a better person for the job.

David Prosser: BA and Iberia still face turbulence

Outlook Let us hope this is not a taste of what is to come from a merged British Airways and Iberia. When the agreement between the two finally touched down yesterday it was more than a week late, with the airlines having originally set 31 March as the deadline for signing the deal.

BA and Iberia agree merger at last as airlines fight for survival

Both companies will keep own brands but stand to save €400m in annual costs

BA and Iberia sign merger agreement

The merger of British Airways and Iberia moved a step closer today after the two airlines signed the agreement approving their tie-up.

Open Jaw: 'An appalling performance from BA'

Where readers write back

BA blames Iberia merger delay on 'technical issues'

British Airways' merger with Iberia of Spain will not take place in the first quarter of this year as planned because of "technical issues", the UK flag carrier said yesterday.

David Prosser: Strike one for BA in battle with unions

Outlook British Airways may not have reached a deal with cabin crew staff to prevent this weekend's strikes, but it did manage yesterday to come to an agreement with unions over the separate matter of pension contributions. And in the longer term, this is an accord that may prove much more significant for the airline's chances of survival.

Professor Harold Livermore: Historian of Iberia who wrote the prize-winning 'A History of Portugal'

Harold Livermore's long career as a major historian of Iberia dates essentially from 1947 with the publication of A History of Portugal, a monumental study which established his reputation as the first anglophone scholar to write a detailed and closely researched account of the annals of England's (and in due course the United Kingdom's) oldest ally. It won for him Portugal's coveted Camões Prize.

Leading article: A strike from the past

The jumbo jet age began in 1970. By doubling the seats available on a single aircraft, the Boeing 747 changed the game of aviation. The low-cost revolution of the past 15 years has done much the same for European travellers. Above all, the removal of barriers to entry and the introduction of (admittedly imperfect) competition has enabled aviation to flourish, while broadening the travel horizons for millions. As home to several great airlines – and the planet's leading aviation hub, London – the UK has been in the vanguard of this transformation.

Business Diary: Walsh speaks the lingo with his new friends

It's good to see our captains of industry working on their language skills in this globalised age. Asked at a party about the progress of talks with Iberia, British Airways boss Willie Walsh answered that he was getting on well with his Spanish colleagues. When will a final deal be announced? "Mañana," Walsh replied. The perfect use of the word, given the age the negotiations have been dragging on for already.

Market Report: BA shares take flight on merger dividends

British Airways was the stand-out riser as the FTSE 100 firmed up last night, leading the blue chips as traders moved in to capitalise on the upside from the merger with Iberia.

Margareta Pagano: It's been a long haul for BA and Iberia, but now they must avoid a crash landing at the altar

Before the Anglo-Spanish wedding, Walsh faces a £3bn-plus pension deficit, hostile unions and a quandary – what will the new airline be like?

BA hopes rise on £3bn-plus pension deal

Airline confident agreement will be reached with trustees over the exact amount of its fund deficit

Market Report: Liberty leads charge on property values

Liberty International led the real-estate sector higher last night, advancing to pole position on the benchmark index after a new survey sparked hopes of a recovery in commercial property values. Data from the Investment Property Databank (IPD) revealed that commercial property values had climbed by 1.9 per cent in October, compared with a 1.1 per cent rise in September. The index showed gains in all three sub-sectors, with retail property rising by 2.6 per cent, industrial property climbing by 1.5 per cent and office values growing by 1.1 per cent. Traders soon piled in, driving Liberty to 504p, up almost 4 per cent or 19p. British Land, at the number two spot on the FTSE 100, rose to 498.2p, up 2.8 per cent or 13.5p, and Hammerson gained 2.3 per cent or 10.1p to 445p. Land Securities was also strong, closing 16p higher at 726.5p.

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