Concerns over bid for Aer Lingus

Chambers Ireland has urged the European Commission to reject Ryanair’s takeover proposal for Aer Lingus, saying the €694m deal would be anti-competitive and bad for Irish business.

In a submission to the commission, Chambers raised particular concerns over the future ease of access to Heathrow for Irish business travellers.

“Heathrow is a vital hub for Irish business, offering connectivity to key destinations across the globe. A Ryanair takeover raises major concerns regarding the future of these vital slots and long term access for Irish business users,” Seán Murphy, Chambers Ireland air transport users’ council spokesperson said.

Chambers chief executive Ian Talbot added that choice of service providers was vital in any industry.

In December, the Government rejected Ryanair’s initial plans as not being in the best interest of competition, connectivity and employment for Ireland.

Chambers’ statement coincided with news that Aer Arann has extended its franchise agreement with Aer Lingus for another 10 years.

As part of what it calls “a new beginning“, the regional carrier also said that it will be expanding existing routes, while a restructuring has put the airline on “a strong financial footing”.

Aer Arann has been operating Aer Lingus’s regional routes to secondary British airports since early 2010 and ceased flying under its own name last year. During 2012, regional passenger numbers increased by 32%, with total passenger levels rising by 16% over the past two years. The agreement to operate the Aer Lingus regional service will now continue to the end of 2022. However, Aer Arann refused to comment on how that may be affected were Ryanair to succeed in its takeover of Aer Lingus next month and enter a deal with British carrier, FlyBe.

Yesterday’s announcement also heralded an expansion of Aer Arann’s existing services to Edinburgh and Glasgow and the creation of two new routes from Ireland to Manchester and Birmingham. The new routes will boost Aer Arann’s passengers by 300,000 and bring to 24 the number of routes on its network. A fleet renewal programme will also see Aer Arann take delivery of eight new ATR 72-600 aircraft.

Management aims to double passenger numbers to more than two million within the next five years.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Medical consultant makes €890,000 settlement with Revenue

Brussels tells UK to ‘keep calm’

Ex-Seán Quinn owned Slieve Russell Hotel returns to profit

Canny investors can tap choppy markets


Breaking Stories

Facial recognition software refused this guy's passport photo saying his eyes were closed - and everyone thinks it was racist

Chrome for Android now lets users download web pages for offline viewing

Lufthansa to increase Dublin-Munich flights

Uber to pick up donations for Age UK charity in Christmas campaign

Lifestyle

After 70 years you can now watch Ireland's first feature film 'The Dawn'

Five 'Very Important Patients' at Temple Street pick the best toys of 2016

Full disclosure in Oliver Stone's new film about CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden

What to buy for the most awkward people in your life this Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner