Aer Lingus sale: 'IAG hasn't offered enough assurances to convince Government'
IAG hasn’t offered enough assurances yet to convince the Government that it should sell its 25.1pc stake in Aer Lingus to it, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said this afternoon.
“The information and commitments that have been provided to date do not at present provide a basis on which the Government could give an irrevocable commitment to accept an offer to dispose of its shares, should one be made by IAG,” he said.
The Minister said the Government needs additional clarity about the number of jobs that could be created as a result of the €1.4bn takeover from British Airways owner IAG as well as when they might be created.
He also wants extended guarantees beyond five years in relation to the use of Heathrow slots for services to Ireland.
Having briefed the cabinet this morning, Mr Donohoe said that the Government wants “firm commitments and details” on IAG’s plans to grow transatlantic traffic out of Ireland.
“In addition, IAG has indicated that it would look at other opportunities to grow at Cork and Shannon and that, through the relationship with British Airways at Gatwick, it can enhance the Knock-Gatwick service. The Government needs firm commitments and details on these matters,” the Minister said in a statement this afternoon.
“The Government has today confirmed that it will continue to pursue a policy based on competition between at least two airlines with significant home bases in the Irish market,” he said. “The Government also considers an open and competitive aviation sector to be the best mechanism to meet the challenges inherent in the aviation industry and strongly supports the maintenance of an open aviation market.
He acknowledged that the Aer Lingus board has lent its support to a takeover by IAG, but insisted more clarity is needed. IAG had provided more information to the Government last Friday.
IAG said in a statement that it acknowledged the Government's response and it will consider it in due course.