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It would seem that the Minister for Transport has seen the light in terms of the validity of the Ryanair offer for Aer Lingus.
No doubt this newly forged attitude emerged from the news that Ryanair has signed a non-binding agreement with IAG — the owners of British Airways — to sell them 80% of Heathrow slots.
No doubt after the qualifying period these slots would have been reassigned by British Airways to more profitable routes. Ryanair, after all, has a history of re-deploying their aircraft on more profitable routes which usually follows a row with airport authorities over airport charges. It is highly probable that the Heathrow slots would be used by them to grow their business in other jurisdictions if such routes were scoped to be more profitable.
It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Ryanair might go so far as to asset strip Aer Lingus and sell their assets off.
These Heathrow vital slots have proved crucial to connectivity and inward investor considerations. The Irish Exporters Association voiced their opposition to a Ryanair takeover of Aer Lingus citing concerns over the maintenance of air connectivity in terms of cargo services. To ignore this call would be perilous.
It would seem that Minister Varadkar has heard this call and is alert to the consequences of a Ryanair takeover of Aer Lingus. He will need to carefully monitor the situation at EU level and ensure that he charters a steady course for the indigenous Irish airline that is Aer Lingus.
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