The much anticipated merger between the British Airways and Iberia could take place as early as next month, according to a statement by Caja Madrid, the bank which is also Iberia’s largest shareholder.

The bank’s chairman Miguel Blasa said that February could prove to be a decisive month for the deal as things were on track and did not feel that threats of strikes by the British Airways’ cabin crew would have any kind of impact on the merger.

The two airlines had signed a memorandum of understanding last year in November for a merger which would make the merged airline the third biggest in the world in terms of revenue.

The report comes at a time when speculations are rife regarding a second ballet for a strike to be organized by the British Airways cabin crew on 25 January.