(AP) — Iberia and British Airways have approved an agreement establishing the basis for a merger, the Spanish carrier said late Thursday.
Iberia called it a "binding agreement" aimed at creating one of the world's largest airline groups, with a fleet of 419 aircraft flying to 205 destinations.
The company would take the form of new holding company that owns the two current carriers. Iberia would own 45 percent of the new company, and British Airways 55 percent, Iberia said.
The deal is expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2010 and be approved by shareholders by the end of that year, the Spanish carrier said. The deal would need regulatory and shareholder approval.