Commerce in for bumpy landing
Published 18/12/2012 | 05:00
No matter how sceptical commentators are about Michael O'Leary's plan, the takeover of Aer Lingus is not dead by any means.
However, the plan to sell the slots would be a loss for the nation as much as the airline. For 50 years, an Irish airline has had a presence at Heathrow.
By selling 20 of 24 slots to British Airways, the country would risk losing a presence at the main airport for the centre of commerce in western Europe.
It could also have a detrimental effect on commerce in Ireland. BA currently offers up to eight flights a day from Heathrow. Aer Lingus runs a maximum of 13 a day.
Under the proposal, BA would take on the Aer Lingus flights for a minimum of three years but could then use the slots for other purposes, such as higher-margin long haul flights.
Fewer flights to Ireland will inevitably mean less business coming here, and that would be a huge loss for the country.