Government canvassing Europe on Aer Lingus sale

Aer Lingus Plane

Ireland is canvassing European authorities for their initial views on a deal allowing the State to sell its stake in Aer Lingus to IAG.

Discussions between Ireland and IAG continued after the Government, which controls a 25% 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.

“In the context of its continued engagement with IAG on these issues, there has been contact with the European Commission in light of their potential role in relation to any proposal,” the Department of Transport said in a response to questions. “At this point no deal has been agreed.”

IAG needed to guarantee to keep routes between Ireland and London for longer than the five years it first proposed, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has said. Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s cabinet will probably consider the IAG proposal the week starting May 25, the person said.

Mr Donohoe hasn’t yet received a final report from officials discussing a possible deal with IAG, he told reporters on Thursday.

IAG has agreed to give a veto over the sale of Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow. While a formal EU review wouldn’t take place until IAG filed a formal offer, the Government wants to ensure guarantees won’t give rise to anti-trust issues.



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