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Ridgway criticizes BA strategy

Dec. 3, 2008 at 2:26 PM

LONDON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Officer Steve Ridgway said British Airways was trying to stifle competition as it considered merging with Australia's Qantas.

BA said this week it was thinking of merging with Qantas, where it previously owned 25 percent, before selling out in 2004, The Times of London reported Wednesday.

As it simultaneously considers a merger with Spain's carrier Iberia and an expanded alliance with American Airlines, BA's CEO Willie Walsh said he has been "vocal about the importance of consolidation in our industry."

"If we put our network together, we can feed passengers to one another and get to destinations that we cannot get to alone. Together we can serve a much larger part of the globe," Walsh said.

But Ridgway said the airline's goal was out to "lock out" competitors.

"One day it's Iberia, then it's American and now Qantas. The only strategy BA seems to have is to lock up some of the busiest routes in the world, against the consumer interest," he said.

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