IAG, which owns British Airways and Spanish-carrier Iberia, is getting ready to give its shareholders in the European Union priority over others in order to defend its position that it is a Spanish-based company. Sources close to the three-way negotiation between the EU, the company and the Spanish government, told newspaper ABC that publicly-listed IAG is "ready to readjust shares so the weight of the EU-based investors is larger".
The move will allow IAG, which has many thousands of small shareholders, to show that its airlines are not British and so guarantee that they can keep flying within the EU in the event of a hard Brexit.
EU rules require more than 50 per cent of shareholder capital to be in the hands of investors inside the EU in order to be able to fly between member countries.
Currently most IAG shareholders are outside the EU, with many in Britain, and the group is considering its powers to suspend voting rights on some of these, according to its company statutes, although shareholders can appeal.
IAG also owns Aer Lingus and Vueling.