LONDON, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- British Airways said Tuesday its merger with Spanish carrier Iberia would be delayed due to falling ticket sales.
BA and Iberia agreed to a merger in August when jet fuel costs were rising sharply, The Times of London reported. BA's ticket sales have since fallen, down 4.8 percent in September, The Times said.
"I can say that the merger will take longer than expected -- especially due to the problems of the sector, which have forced us to focus more on our business than in the deal," BA's Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh said in an interview in Spain.
The merger, which would create the largest airline in Europe in terms of numbers of passengers, would probably be on hold until the middle of 2009, The Times reported.