Shareholders of British Airways and Spain’s national carrier Iberia have finally approved the highly touted merger between the two companies. Creating Europe’s second biggest airline alliance - after Air France-KLM - the tie-up will see the company named the International Airlines Group (IAG). British Airways Chief Executive Willie Walsh, said: “We’ve had a strong relationship with Iberia for more than a decade and this merger will enhance both airlines’ strategic and financial positions, creating benefits for our customers, shareholders and staff. The merged company will benefit from the two airlines’ complementary networks with our strong presence in North America, Asia and Africa and Iberia’s strong presence in Latin America and our combined presence in Europe.” The separate BA and Iberia brands will continue to operate as normal. The two airlines began discussing a merger two years ago because of the challenging economic conditions both were facing.