British Airways has declined to comment on reports that it discussing a possible merger with Dutch carrier KLM. The Netherlands airline recently ended its alliance with Italian state airline Alitalia and, according to KLM chairman, Leo van Wijk, it now seeks a European merger in which it would be willing to be the minority partner. Although a KLM spokesman yesterday denied talks with BA, van Wijk has named BA as one of "many good airlines" with which ties could be considered.

The duo have common ground in that they both operate loss-making low-cost subsidiaries, Go and Buzz; in this area, in particular, a merger would bring benefits. The two airlines are also working together with nine other European carriers in the formation of a new internet travel agency.

However, analysts’ eyebrows would be raised by a BA tie-up with KLM. Says Chris Tarry, of Commerzbank: "BA's main focus must be on winning anti-trust immunity with a US carrier."

News source: The Times (London)