Ryanair bid for Aer Lingus hit by lack of Government support
Ryanair’s latest bid to acquire Aer Lingus received a major setback yesterday after the Government decided it would not support the takeover proposal.
With the State owning 25.1 per cent of Aer Lingus, Ryanair cannot now take complete control of the carrier.
However, Ryanair, which owns 29.8 per cent of Aer Lingus, insisted last night this does not prevent it acquiring a majority stake in its rival subject to European Commission approval.
The commission is considering a package of remedies suggested by Ryanair to overcome competition concerns. These include offloading most of Aer Lingus’s Heathrow slots to British Airways and surrendering some short-haul routes to UK carrier Flybe.
The commission would be expected to give significant weight to the Government’s view of the takeover proposal.
Speaking last night, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said: “Based on what is now in the public domain, the Ryanair remedies package does not satisfy our concerns about connectivity, competitiveness or employment for Ireland.”
He added: “Obviously, the European Commission will make its own decision in its own time but we do not see any benefit to Ireland in what has been reported.”
Ryanair said it was “continuing to progress” the approval process with the commission “having submitted an unprecedented remedies package”.
Mr Varadkar said the Government remained “committed” to selling its stake in Aer Lingus “at the right time under the right conditions”. It is currently worth €144 million.