A number of commitments to protect the future of Aer Lingus have been made by British Airways owner International Airlines Group in an effort to win take over approval from Dublin.
IAG would “offer legally binding commitments that go well beyond the protections currently available to the government and would give it an important role in securing the future of Aer Lingus”.
The UK airline group’s revised €1.36 billion bid for Aer Lingus is conditional on support from the Irish government, which controls 25% of the former Irish flag carrier.
IAG said the commitments would ensure that Aer Lingus’ 23 slot pairs at Heathrow cannot be sold, including to other group airlines and the carrier would retain its name and head office in Ireland.
Additionally, IAG is prepared to offer a further commitment to operate the slots on Irish routes for five years. The company said this was a protection that the Irish government does not have today.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “We are committed to maintaining and strengthening Aer Lingus. We want to develop air services that ensure Ireland’s connectivity is enhanced.
“In seeking the support of the Irish government, we propose to offer it legally binding commitments that go well beyond the protections currently available to it.
“These commitments would give the Irish government an important role that they do not have today in securing the future of Aer Lingus.”
The commitments and giving greater powers to the Irish government would be subject to Irish takeover rules and EU competition review.
Irish transport, tourism and sport minister Paschal Donohoe has said that the potential sale of the state’s “Aer Lingus shares will be given very careful examination before the government takes any decision on the issue”.
He added that he will “examine the details” of IAG’s offer.
Aer Lingus’ trade union, Impact, has warned that up to 1,200 jobs at the airline could be at risk if it was acquired by IAG.
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