Virgin Atlantic raises concerns over potential Aer Lingus takeover by IAG

Virgin Atlantic raises concerns over potential Aer Lingus takeover by IAG

Virgin Atlantic has highlighted concerns over the proposed £1 billion takeover of Aer Lingus by British Airways owner International Airlines Group.

The airline warns of a "monopoly on consumers" that could prove detrimental to competition, according to a letter obtained by the Irish Independent.

Virgin Atlantic has also raised concerns to the European Commission about the potential impact on competition of the deal proceeds.

The carrier argues that the sale would jeopardise the level of choice available to Irish passengers who fly with Aer Lingus to the UK before choosing a different airline for onward Long haul connections.

The concern raised by Virgin is one of several made in a two page letter sent to Irish politicians. The Irish government holds a 25% stake in Aer Lingus.

Virgin Atlantic director of network and alliances, Joe Thompson, claims IAG chief executive Willie Walsh has yet to provide a commitment on the issue of the frequency of flights.

"To date, IAG has offered minimal public commitments with regard to retaining Aer Lingus-operated services between Ireland and the UK," Thompson reportedly said.

Walsh has previously guaranteed to use Aer Lingus slots at Heathrow to serve only routes to Ireland for at least five years if IAG takes over the Irish airline.

He pledged to create hundreds of jobs at Aer Lingus and said there was potential to launch new routes from Dublin.

Walsh has also said IAG would bring an extra 2.5 million passengers to Ireland by 2020.

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