No sale of Aer Lingus to Ryanair

THE Government will only sell its 25% stake in Aer Lingus to a party that can guarantee its independence from arch-rival Ryanair, the Aer Lingus chief executive told Reuters.

The Government is looking at asset sales to help cut the worst budget deficit in Europe. But Aer Lingus’s Christoph Mueller said Dublin would not sell its Aer Lingus stake, valued at around €150 million, to Ryanair because it would crush competition. Ryanair already owns nearly 30% of Aer Lingus.

“The Irish Government needs to make sure we are not taken over by Ryanair, because only two air carriers guarantee that the fares from London to Dublin remain very low,” Mueller told Reuters on Wednesday.

“They will only sell to a party which guarantees the independence of Aer Lingus,” Mueller said on the sidelines of a business conference in Dublin. “I have no other information than that and we talk to them regularly. They are very pleased the share price is coming up and that we create value for the government at this time.”

The former state-owned airline has fended off two hostile bids from Ryanair. Britain’s Office of Fair Trading launched an investigation last week into Ryanair’s stake in Aer Lingus, which Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary subsequently called “a wild goose chase”. Mueller said the probe was credible.

The CEO also said he was exploring closer links with an Asian airline to give Aer Lingus access to markets in the region.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

The Monday Interview: Former Dublin star Conal Keaney is on his bike to promote his business

Apple’s core product key to realisation of $1tn dream

Brexit talks: Now it’s crunch time for Ireland

Nama defiant over ‘lost €18bn’ claim


Breaking Stories

Mixed day on Wall Street as Washington politics unsettles investors

Oil firm locates 'largest undeveloped discovery' in British waters

Average house price increases by 10.9% over 12 months

You can now fly from Cork or Dublin to Chicago with WOW air

Lifestyle

Meet the US firefighter running the Cork City Marathon with his severely ill daughter

'You’re doing phenomenally well with brilliant men; why wouldn’t you want brilliant women too?'

Damien Enright: The fascinating Armoured Ground Crickets are perfect look-alikes for horror-film aliens

Jess Kavanagh is putting some real bite in her Barq

More From The Irish Examiner