Fianna Fáil in bid to ground Aer Lingus sale as secret report emerges

Fianna Fáil will attempt to put the brakes on the sale of Aer Lingus today after the emergence of a secret management report which outlines potential savings of up to €80m in the airline.

Aviation group IAG moved to ease concerns about the deal yesterday, with chief executive Willie Walsh saying the takeover would boost economic growth and help create jobs.

IAG’s €1.4bn bid for Aer Lingus is expected to be backed by Labour TDs in a crucial Dáil vote today, following stronger guarantees on airport slots and jobs.

It will then be up to Ryanair to sell its own shares and, essentially, pave the way for the takeover.

The Government says the deal will allow it to veto changes to crucial routes, that the takeover secures the future of Aer Lingus and that hundreds of new airline jobs will be created. Some €335m from the sale of the State’s stake will go into a special ‘connectivity fund’ to support major transport, road and broadband projects.

Fianna Fáil, though, highlighted an Aer Lingus report by consultants Nyras which looked at savings in ground handling, catering and maintenance and which it claimed could result in job losses, but the airline said the savings of between €60m and €80m were not job related.

With formal notices of a takeover to shareholders and approval from Brussels needed, it is expected IAG control of Aer Lingus will not be finalised until August.

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