'Gombeen politics' is at play, claims CityJet founder
THE Government's rejection of the Aer Lingus takeover offer is "gombeen politics at its worst".
That's the verdict of CityJet founder Pat Byrne, who also criticised the Government's handling of the IAG offer as "reckless".
The airline's chairman said: "Here we go again, mixing business with politics. It's pretty shocking, really.
"It's gombeen politics at its worst. This is an incredible milestone in Irish aviation history, the opportunity to create a significant substantial hub in Dublin, and we have this nonsense going on," the Bray businessman said.
Despite Aer Lingus reporting an increase in operating profits, up by 17.8pc to €72m last year, Mr Byrne insisted the airline's performance was "not enough".
"They're bumping along. It's a modest level of profit. It's a reasonably credible performance in a tough market, but it's not enough. Aer Lingus is in a very precarious position. What people don't realise is that what the IAG deal is all about is getting into bed (with) a distribution network that's bulletproof.
"Aer Lingus has stayed out of all the big alliances; it cannot do that forever. It's been squeezed by the big carriers."
Speaking on Newstalk's 'Breakfast' show he warned: "The Government have to be careful that they're not completely disrespectful to IAG and the offer that's on the table. I don't think they're going about this in a professional and competent way."
It also emerged yesterday that the chief executive of the Dublin-based CityJet Christine Ourmieres-Widener is stepping down. In a statement, the airline said she oversaw "the organisation positively reshaped, with strong shareholders, improved financial position with a new board and management team in place".