Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Iberia records huge loss in 2009

Grounded Iberia planes at Madrid airport
Spain's Iberia has agreed a deal to merge with British Airways

Spanish airline Iberia has reported a worse-than-expected loss for 2009, which it said was "one of the most difficult periods of its history".

The airline reported a net loss of 273m euros ($368m; £240m) last year, against a 32m-euro profit in 2008.

Iberia also forecast difficult trading ahead, because of high oil prices and doubts over whether demand will recover for lucrative business class seats.

Iberia has agreed to merge with British Airways.

This would create the world's third-largest airline by revenue.

Both airlines have been hit hard by falling passenger numbers during the downturn, and have said that the tie-up will save them 400m euros a year.

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