The boards of British Airways and Spain's Iberia are holding separate board meetings to consider a merger to create the world's third largest airline by revenue, they said on Thursday.

Further to recent market speculation, British Airways confirms that the British Airways and Iberia Boards are holding separate meetings today, 12 November, to consider a potential transaction, BA said in a statement.

However, no decisions have been taken and, at this time, there can be no guarantee that a transaction will be forthcoming. A further announcement will be made in due course, if appropriate.

Iberia also said it had taken no decision on the potential deal and there was no guarantee a transaction would take place.

Shares in BA were 7 percent higher at 213.7 pence by 1140 GMT, while Iberia's shares were up 9.2 percent at 2.17 euros.

BA has been in merger talks with Iberia for around a year and has also applied to U.S. and European authorities for competition clearance, or anti-trust immunity, which would allow it to share costs and revenues on transatlantic routes with Iberia and American Airlines (AA) .

BA's Chief Executive Willie Walsh on Friday said a decision on BA's proposed merger with Iberia would likely come in the very near future.

Walsh also added he was confident in the strength of BA's case to win U.S. Department of Transportation approval for a sales tie-up with American Airlines and Iberia.

Iberia is scheduled to report nine-month earnings on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher and Elisabeth O'Leary)