Monday 19 February 2018

Seven potential buyers express interest in struggling Aer Arann

Emmet Oliver and John Mulligan

Seven expressions of interest have been received from potential buyers for Aer Arann, the Irish Independent has learned, with a sale of the airline likely to be sealed within a few weeks.

However, the big UK regional carrier Flybe is not believed to be among the bidders.

Troubled regional airline Aer Arann had an interim examiner appointed to it over a week ago as it struggled with mounting losses.

An information memorandum detailing the airline's activities and financial position is being sent to interested parties on Monday.

Kerry technology entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly is one of those leading a syndicate hoping to save the carrier. Aer Arann chairman Padraig O Ceidigh is also part of the syndicate. Mr Kennelly declined to comment yesterday.

Successful UK regional carrier Flybe is not understood to have lodged any expression of interest in Aer Arann, despite speculation that it may have been interested in the business.

Flybe is controlled by a family trust established by Jack Walker, the late steel magnate and owner of Blackburn Rovers football club.

It is understood that expressions of interest have also been received from aircraft leasing firms. It is likely such outfits would primarily be interested in acquiring Aer Arann's fleet of 12 aircraft at a discount.

Five of those aircraft operate under Aer Lingus livery as part of a franchise deal signed by the two carriers earlier this year.

Aer Arann pays a fee to Aer Lingus and, in return, seats on the routes that the aircraft serve can be booked via the Aer Lingus website.

Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller said recently that the franchised routes had carried more than 100,000 passengers since they began in March.

Irish Independent

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