European Commission said to clear way for Aer Lingus sale

British Airways parent IAG is said to be offering a guarantee on maintaining routes between Ireland and London for seven years

The sale of Aer Lingus to British Airways owner IAG is still on the table. (Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times)

The sale of Aer Lingus to British Airways owner IAG is still on the table. (Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times)

 

The European Commission didn’t raise any initial major objections, it’s understood, to pledges aimed at allowing the Irish government sell its stake in Aer Lingus to IAG.

Discussions between Ireland and IAG continued after the government, which controls a 25 per cent stake in Aer Lingus, rejected the airline’s indicative bid in February.

British Airways parent IAG is offering a guarantee on maintaining routes between Ireland and London for seven years, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified, as talks are continuing. “There has been contact with the European Commission as we are prudently ensuring that any mechanisms that may be considered would be robust in the event that a deal is done,” the Department of Transport said in a statement, declining to comment on the outcome of the Commission’s deliberations.

The European Commission also declined to comment.

While a formal EU review wouldn’t take place until IAG filed a full offer, the government wants to ensure guarantees won’t give rise to antitrust issues, the person said.

The sale of the Aer Lingus stake is not on the agenda for a cabinet meeting in Dublin on Tuesday, the Transport Ministry said.

Bloomberg

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