Ryanair is to appeal against the likely rejection by European competition authorities of its €694 million bid to take over rival Aer Lingus.
The budget carrier said today it had instructed lawyers to appeal any prohibition decision to the European Courts.
This follows notification from a meeting with the European Commission that it plans to turn down Ryanair’s bid for Aer Lingus.
A Ryanair spokesman said: “It appears clear from this morning’s meeting, that no matter what remedies Ryanair offered, we were not going to get a fair hearing and were going to be prohibited regardless of competition rules.”
The carrier put forward concessions including handling over Aer Lingus’s Gatwick operations to British Airways and 43 routes to Flybe in an attempt to eliminate all competitive overlaps between Ryanair and Aer Lingus.
“Given Ryanair’s remedies package clearly addresses every issue raised in the EU’s statement of objections, any decision to prohibit would be manifestly unfair and in contravention of EU competition rules,” the airline’s spokesman said.
“Ryanair has no alternative but to appeal any prohibition decision and we expect to get a fair hearing at the European Courts, as we haven’t received one from [competition] commissioner [Joaquin] Almunia and his case team.
“This decision is clearly a political one to meet the narrow, vested interests of the Irish government and is not based on competition law.”
A final decision is expected on March 6.
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