Flybe has agreed a deal with Ryanair to create an Irish offshoot if the budget carrier’s bid for Aer Lingus is approved.
It would see Ryanair transfer to Flybe Ireland 43 European routes, at least nine Airbus A320s and an undisclosed number of flight crew, engineers, management and facilities to operate the business.
Flybe said it would pay Ryanair €1 million for the newly-created carrier.
Ryanair will also provide Flybe Ireland with a cash injection of €100 million and forward sales cash and liabilities worth around €50 million.
The deal is part of concessions made by Ryanair in its third attempt to win approval from the European Commission to take over Aer Lingus. A ruling is expected on March 6.
If Ryanair’s acquisition of Aer Lingus is completed, Flybe expects to seek formal shareholder approval for the acquisition of Flybe Ireland from Ryanair in the early autumn.
Flybe chief executive Jim French said: “The terms of the deal negotiated ensure that Flybe Ireland will be a well-capitalised, well-funded company, enabling us to deliver upon that strategic aim.”
But he added: “Before Flybe Ireland can come into being there are many hurdles to overcome, not least the EC accepting the remedies offered by Ryanair in its offer to take over Aer Lingus, and then the shareholders of Aer Lingus accepting an offer from Ryanair.”
Flybe Ireland would operate from bases in Dublin and Cork with 43 routes to 34 destinations in Europe.
Flybe currently operates to around half of those destinations with its UK business.
It would have the right to use the Aer Lingus brand for up to three years after the transaction. This will allow it to develop its own brand position in Ireland during a “realistic” transition period.
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