International Consolidated Airlines Group’s (LON:IAG) chief executive Willie Walsh will be grilled by top investors this week over the handling of a 48-hour pilot strike at British Airways, the Financial Times reports. The news comes as pilots in the British flag carrier kicked off an unprecedented strike yesterday over a pay dispute, grounding nearly all the airline’s flights.
IAG’s share price, which came under pressure yesterday, has advanced this Tuesday, having gained 5.19 percent to 445.50p as of 14:52 BST. The shares are outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having fallen marginally into the red and currently standing 0.21 percent lower at 7,220.31 points.
Willie Walsh to face grilling
Sources with knowledge of the matter told the FT that IAG management has meetings with top shareholders in the coming days as part of a prearranged investor roadshow. One fund manager told the newspaper that he had already been “engaging both face to face and in writing with the chairman about a number of concerns at IAG from labour relations through to customer satisfaction [and] brand perception issues”.
The FT further reported that no new talks with the union have been scheduled to resolve the next walkout, planned for September 27, with British Airways and the British Airline Pilots’ Association still battling over the terms of a pay deal.
City A.M. quoted Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton as commenting that “British Airways needs to start listening to its pilots and actually come up with ways of resolving this dispute”.
Analyst ratings update
Royal Bank of Canada reaffirmed the British Airways parent as an ‘outperform’ yesterday, with a target of 650p on the IAG share price. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip company currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average valuation of 643.58p.