Aer Lingus has effectively put itself up for sale, with chief executive Christoph Mueller holding talks with prospective investors.
It is reported today that the Government would be willing to sell its one quarter stake in the former national airline.
The newly merged British Airways and Iberia airlines are seen as the most likely to invest in Aer Lingus.
Business journalist Tom McEnaney said Ryanair's response to the move was as yet unknown.
Aer Lingus has already fended off two hostile bids from Ryanair