IAG is examining the feasibility of allocating a small fleet of Airbus A380s to its Spanish division Iberia and possibly an aircraft with its recently acquired Irish arm Aer Lingus.
Willie Walsh, IAG's chief executive, tells Flightglobal that the group, which also owns British Airways, is considering expanding its A380 fleet and that its structure would allow it to create sub-fleets at its other airlines.
BA currently has 11 A380s in service, with the 12th and final aircraft from its current order set to arrive in May. Walsh says IAG "can make a case for a few more" and is considering the second-hand market as the price Airbus is asking for new A380s is "outrageous".
As well as possibly growing BA's London Heathrow based fleet, "where it can work for us, because of the group structure we have, we could see a case for a couple of A380s in Iberia", says Walsh. "You might even make a case for an A380 in Aer Lingus."
He adds that the Iberia and Aer Lingus idea is a "what if" scenario and is a feasible option as the group "is putting into place a common specification before we then do the common procurement so that you don't have to keep changing the configuration of the aircraft".
Walsh dismisses the suggestion that talk of IAG taking second-hand A380s could be a negotiating tactic to secure more favourable pricing from Airbus for new aircraft.
"If there are second-hand A380s, we're not averse to looking at them as an option for us. The engine choice would have to be Rolls-Royce, so that does limit the availability," he says.
"Customers love it. The aircraft works very well. And there are definitely parts of the network that the A380 can work on," he adds. "One of the issues we're always conscious of is flexibility in the event of an economic downturn. The A380 wouldn't work on every part of our network, so from that point of view we'd be less ambitious [in fleet size] than Emirates would be."