Aer Lingus could seal landmark deal with Ryanair on long-haul passenger feeds in time for summer 2016
Aer Lingus could have a so-called interlining agreement in place with Ryanair for next summer that would see its arch rival feed passengers to the Aer Lingus long-haul network.
Aer Lingus chief executive Stephen Kavanagh confirmed that talks have been under way with Ryanair, and that Aer Lingus, which was recently sold to British Airways owner IAG, is looking to expand its network reach.
"Those are commercial discussions and if we get the right price in terms of the capacity from Ryanair, then we'd be very interested in doing business," said Mr Kavanagh. "But at this point in time we remain in negotiation," he added.
"If the price is right, we have an ambition to extend our network, and if the commercial agreements are reached in time, then summer 2016 is a possibility." Mr Kavanagh said that while Aer Lingus has an extensive reach throughout the UK and Europe, there are markets Ryanair serves that it doesn't.
"So, with a view to extending the markets we can compete with, we're having those discussions as to how we might formalise what is currently happening on an ad hoc basis," he said.
Mr Kavanagh was speaking as Aer Lingus said it will launch three new routes to the US next year from Dublin.
It will serve Los Angeles, Newark in New Jersey, and Hartford in Connecticut. About 200 jobs will be created at the airline as a result.