Will IAG get a 50% discount on its purchase of Air Europa?
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Last year, IAG, the parent company of British Airways, announced its intention to acquire Air Europa for €1bn.
This was to include Air Europa resigning from the SkyTeam alliance and adopting Avios.
Air Europa is the 3rd biggest airline in Spain. The acquisition, according to IAG at the time, would turn Madrid into a genuine ‘5th European hub’ city alongside London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam.
IAG would become the largest airline group flying between Europe and the Caribbean and Europe and Latin America. Even more importantly, if you live in Spain, is the fact that IAG would operate 73% of all domestic flights.
In recent months, IAG has faced strong questioning about its acquisition of Air Europa given some of the cost cutting measures taking place across the group (the latest update of which is here). What outgoing IAG CEO Willie Walsh has made clear, however, is that this acquisition is happening under Iberia’s wing. He feels that it has no impact on pay and contract terms negotiations at British Airways.
IAG “wants a 50% discount”
In recent months IAG has been hedging its bets and said it would be ‘reviewing’ the acquisition of Air Europa.
It doesn’t look like IAG has been put off. Reuters, quoting Spanish newspaper Cinco Dias suggests that IAG and Iberia are keen to proceed. They are close to an agreement with Air Europa owners Globalia to halve the €1 billion acquisition price to around the €500 million to €600 million mark.
The Reuters report is here.
Is this too much or little? It isn’t clear. You’d need to factor in:
how much of Air Europa’s debt will be taken on by IAG and
what assets (basically unmortgaged aircraft) are included
As Globalia is a private company, this information is not easily available.
On the face of it, Globalia should be delighted that IAG still wants to pay €500 million given how the aviation industry has changed since November 2019. Even if the deal does come with a number of debt-free aircraft included, it is not as if IAG is short of planes at the moment ….
Are there competition concerns?
Concerns about competition haven’t gone away, and this deal increases the size of Iberia by 50% assuming you treat Air Europa and Iberia as one airline.
Eight airlines control 99.6% of Spanish domestic flights, according to CAPA. Unfortunately for regulators, IAG will now own the three biggest, running a total of 73% of all domestic flights:
- Vueling – 32%
- Iberia – 26%
- Air Europa – 15%
Ryanair comes joint third, also with 15%. You then drop to BinterCanarias with 9%, which mainly operates in and to the Canary Islands. There has been talk of IAG creating a new domestic airline from parts of Air Europa, Iberia and Vueling which it would then sell, in effect creating a competitor to itself.
From the point of the view of the average HFP reader, the key benefit here will be an increased number of places to redeem Avios – although this won’t be happening for at least 18 months I imagine.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (March 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.