British Aerospace says it is prepared to put its share of Airbus Industrie up for an immediate merger with France's Aerospatiale Matra or DaimlerChrysler (Dasa)/CASA following the announcement of the intended merger between the German and Spanish companies.

BAe executive director Mike Turner welcomed the deal between the two Airbus partners, but says what is needed now is "another bilateral to take us from three to two", and that this should be "at the level of Airbus". He adds: "Even three people around the table is too many. If we have two, I think it can happen. It may be possible for three people around a table to get together, but I doubt it."

Turner says that it does not matter which of the remaining three Airbus players get together first, but he says BAe is ready to throw its Airbus interests into a bilateral deal, and hints that his company would not be averse to an Anglo-French agreement.

"We've never had a problem with Aerospatiale Matra about Airbus," he says. "The trouble was putting the whole of BAe into a merger with Aerospatiale when it was a state-owned company.

While emphasising that progress is necessary on Airbus, BAe chief executive John Weston says he regards global options as all-important. He says that his company was keen to make a transatlantic move when possible.

Source: Flight International