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Aer Lingus asked to explain why IAG bid would benefit the company and customers

Aer Lingus said yesterday that the takeover would benefit the company, its employees, its customers, the tourism sector and the airports at which it operates.

File Photo
File Photo
Image: Graham Hughes via Photocall Ireland

THE AER LINGUS board has said the prospect of Aer Lingus becoming part of IAG makes “compelling commercial logic” after it held talks with the British Airways owner.

However, not everyone seems so convinced on the benefits of the takeover.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism & Sport wants Aer Lingus Chairman Colm Barrington and CEO Christoph Mueller to appear before the Oireachtas Transport & Communications Committee.

Timmy Dooley said they should answer the questions that remain outstanding surrounding connectivity following the IAG presentation earlier this week.

They must outline the financial position of Aer Lingus, its future plans and in particular set out why they think the IAG takeover bid is in the best interests of the company at this time.

It comes after Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington said yesterday that a takeover would drive its business:

“The strong view of the board of Aer Lingus is that the prospect of Aer Lingus being part of the IAG Group has a compelling commercial logic for Aer Lingus, has significantly positive benefits for Ireland and is strongly supportive of the Irish Government’s two airline policy.

Following a combination with IAG, Aer Lingus will have a markedly greater number of more attractive growth options that will significantly benefit the company, its employees, its customers, the tourism sector, Irish business and industry and the airports at which Aer Lingus operates and Ireland.

The Transport Minister Pascal Donohoe was quick to point out that the takeover bid was still being considered by the Government.

“I have had an opportunity to meet with IAG and Aer Lingus this week to engage directly with them. I note the statement from Aer Lingus this afternoon and the matter remains under consideration by Government.”

Commitments

Earlier this month, IAG tried to ease the concerns outlined by various politicians by offering the Irish government some significant ‘legally binding commitments’ on three aspects of the business.

It said that the airlines Heathrow slots cannot be sold, that they would operate on Irish routes for the next five years and that the firm’s headquarters and incorporation would remain in Ireland. Its name would also remain unchanged.

However, since then Walsh has clarified that the group cannot offer guarantees on the Heathrow slot routes for longer than five years as it would be bad business – impacting his bargaining power with various partners.

Read: IAG boss Willie Walsh has offered a ‘cast-iron guarantee’ on Aer Lingus’ Heathrow slots*>

Read: Why does IAG want to get its hands on Aer Lingus so badly?>

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