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Aer Lingus decision 'due in weeks'

By Ed Carty

Published 16/04/2015

Among the chief concerns over a sale were potential job losses
Among the chief concerns over a sale were potential job losses

The Irish government will decide in weeks whether to sell its stake in Aer Lingus to the International Airlines Group (IAG).

Following protracted talks on securing valuable jobs, routes and London Heathrow landing slots as part of the 1.4 billion euro (£1.03 billion) takeover, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said negotiations had been useful.

Among the chief concerns over a sale were potential job losses, a clear timeframe for new employment as part of growth plans.

Dublin also wanted commitments on growing flights between Ireland and the US, and boosting traffic in and out of regional airports at Cork, Shannon and Knock and the IAG plan to turn the Irish capital into a transatlantic hub.

IAG's original offer included a commitment to keep Aer Lingus's Heathrow slots for five years - considered critical to Ireland's tourism and business links.

"There has been useful engagement on the issues by both sides," Mr Donohoe said.

"Discussions are progressing and as I have indicated previously I do not want this process to be drawn out unnecessarily and I expect that it can be brought to a conclusion in the coming weeks."

The Irish state holds a 25% stake in Aer Lingus while the company management supports the sale.

The takeover, spearheaded by IAG chief executive Willie Walsh, has prompted concerns from unions that the company would face huge job cuts if it went through.

Further reading

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Ryanair: We are not an obstacle to Aer Lingus merger  

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