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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019
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'A small regional peripheral airline' - Michael O'Leary dismisses Aer Lingus talk

The Ryanair CEO says the focus on the airline’s sale is ‘irrelevant’.

RYANAIR BOSS MICHAEL O’Leary has said that the focus on the Aer Lingus’s slots at Heathrow Airport are ‘largely irrelevant’.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, O’Leary dismissed the intense focus on the potential Aer Lingus sale.

“There needs to be a more common-sense approach taken by politicians and the commentariat,” he said.

A lot of the hyperbole that goes on about Aer Lingus and their slots at Heathrow is largely irrelevant to the future of aviation in this country. Ireland has two airlines, one carries 100 million passengers and is growing strongly, the other carries less than 10 million .

O’Leary was referring to new Ryanair’s traffic stats from Ryanair which showed a 14% passenger increase in the final three months of last year compared to 2013. The airline reported three-month profits of €49 million based on revenue of over €1.1 billion.

“Ryanair’s growth this year will be more than Aer Lingus’s total traffic,” O’Leary boasted before adding that he didn’t really want to talk abut Aer Lingus because “there’s nothing to talk about”.

“The country has much more things to discuss that the future of a small regional peripheral airline,” he said.

Owning 29% of Aer Lingus, Ryanair is the largest shareholder and has previously made three separate attempts to buy it outright.

“Speaking personally, I think Aer Lingus would be better owned by an Irish group but I’ve tried that three times and been turned down three times. The good news for Irish people is that the future of Aer Lingus doesn’t matter because Ryanair is ten times bigger.”

The Ryanair boss went on to say that both Ryanair and the Irish Government are minority shareholders in Aer Lingus and won’t be able to stop the sale of the airline if the board recommends it.

“Our view is that no formal offer has yet been tabled and if one is tabled by IAG then board of Ryanair will consider that in due course,” he added.

Read: Ryanair is basically running like a massive cash machine >

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Rónán Duffy

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