Ryanair pledges to reinstate Shannon-Heathrow route


Ryanair has pledged to reinstate the Shannon-Heathrow route and recognise unions at Aer Lingus should its takeover bid be successful.

It also promised to provide a €100 million bank guarantee to eliminate Aer Lingus’s fuel charge.

In a statement this evening, Ryanair outlined the case for its proposed €748 million merger with Aer Lingus which has been rejected by the Aer Lingus board.

Ryanair said as part of the merger deal it would give the Government control of Aer Lingus's takeoff and landing slots at London's Heathrow airport in order to guarantee the continuation of routes from Ireland.

"By giving watertight control over Aer Lingus' (Heathrow) slots, we effectively remove any need for the Irish government  to retain a strategic shareholding," chief executive Michael O'Leary said.

Ryanair said the merger would see the return of the Shannon-Heathrow route with a minimum twice daily frequency.

The Heathrow slots needed to meet this commitment would be switched from one of Aer Lingus’s other Heathrow routes, it said.

Ryanair also pledged to provide another €100 million bank guarantee that Aer Lingus’ short haul fares would be reduced by a minimum of 5 per cent for a three year period.

Ryanair claimed the reductions in short haul fares and removal of fuel surcharges woulddeliver annual consumer savings of over €140 million.

Mr O'Leary met with Mr Dempsey and officials from his department at Leinster House at about 7pm last night to make his case for the deal.