Belfast Telegraph

Ryanair to fight sale ultimatum

john collingridge

Budget airline Ryanair is expected to face an ultimatum from the competition watchdog this week to sell all or part of its stake in Aer Lingus.

The Competition Commission may demand the carrier sell its 29.8% stake in its Irish rival in a ruling as early as tomorrow, the Sunday Times reported.

In May the watchdog warned an enforced sale could be possible, saying Ryanair's stake potentially distorted the market for flights between Ireland and Britain, adding it was likely to "weaken its main competitor".

It said the shareholding could hold Aer Lingus back from remaining competitive by threatening to block any merger or acquisition deals with other airlines.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has vowed to appeal against any final decision that it will have to reduce its stake in Aer Lingus.

Ryanair has made three attempts to buy Aer Lingus, with its latest bid last summer blocked by the European Commission.

The Competition Commission could not be reached for comment.

Belfast Telegraph