Ryanair - Aer Lingus competition ruling expected

Ryanair - Aer Lingus competition ruling expected

A ruling on Ryanair’s third takeover bid for Aer Lingus is due to be made by the European Commission today.

The budget carrier, which holds a 29.82% stake in its Irish rival, announced earlier this month that it expected the €694 million deal to be rejected despite putting forward a series of concessions to appease competition authorities.

These included the transfer of competing routes to Flybe to allow the UK regional airline to establish a subsidiary in Ireland and the relinquishing of Aer Lingus routes from Gatwick.

Competition investigators were reported earlier this month to have found that the merger would leave the combined company dominating around 85% of seats on short-haul flights in and out of Ireland - a share that fell to just under 70% under Ryanair’s proposed competition remedies.

The Commission rejected Ryanair’s first bid in June 2007 and the airline abandoned a second takeover attempt in 2010.

EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia confirmed that a decision would be made today (Wednesday).

Ryanair has said it will be left with no alternative but to lodge an appeal through the European courts if the bid is refused.

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