Business Irish

Friday 20 April 2018

Ryanair: Germany is becoming the 'banana republic of aviation'

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary Photo: Bloomberg
Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary Photo: Bloomberg
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair is currently weighing whether or not to make a binding bid for Alitalia assets as a deadline approaches for the sale of the failed Italian carrier, according to Ryanair chief commercial officer David O’Brien.

At a press conference in Dublin on Tuesday morning, Mr O’Brien said Ryanair is currently examining the Alitalia data room, having already submitted a non-binding bid for assets.

Alitalia collapsed into administration in May after Gulf carrier Etihad pulled its financial support for the airline.

"The next deadline is early October, for bids of a binding nature," said Mr O’Brien.

"We’re making our way through the data room at the moment."

Mr O’Brien and Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, both blasted the handling of the sale of Air Berlin, which collapsed after Etihad pulled support for the carrier in which it had a stake.

They both predicted that Lufthansa will emerge as the buyer of most of Air Berlin assets. Ryanair has complained that it has been excluded from the sales process and would have been interested in acquiring the failed carrier.

But Mr O’Brien said the sales process, which Ryanair has said favours Lufthansa, is "clearly protectionist", and "clearly illegitimate" and "will probably succeed".

Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Photo: Tom Burke
Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Photo: Tom Burke

Mr Jacobs said Germany is becoming the "banana republic of aviation".

Mr O’Brien said he expects Lufthansa to struggle with Air Berlin.

“Over time, Lufthansa will find that it has a severe case of indigestion as a result of absorbing Air Berlin,” he said.

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