Following the breakdown of its merger negotiations with KLM [WAMN: 22-Sep-00], British Airways has turned for consolation to Swissair, often the object of speculation by analysts and the press as a likely partner for BA.

While the new romance is not denied by either airline, the duo is coy as to the extent of their talks. Says BA: "Consolidation will take place in Europe and we believe we will become an active participant ... but it won't happen overnight. The important thing is that we get the right deal."

Some analysts see the Swiss flag carrier as a more appropriate partner than KLM, noting that it would bring as a dowry a higher percentage of business travellers – the sector most eagerly wooed by BA. There would also be fewer regulatory hurdles to clear over transatlantic routes.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)