Saturday 24 March 2018

Pascal Donohoe: Aer Lingus guarantees will hold even if IAG is taken over

Pascal Donohoe
Pascal Donohoe newsdesk

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has said that the guarantees that the Government has received safeguarding Aer Lingus’ slots at Heathrow will hold in the event that IAG is itself bought or taken over.

This morning British airline IAG has made a formal offer for Aer Lingus after Cabinet yesterday agreed to sell the State's 25.1pc stake in the airline.

In exchange for its commitment to sell its stake in the airlinem, which is worth about €335m, the Government has received several commitments from IAG in relation to how Aer Lingus is run.

Under the terms of the agreement Aer Lingus's Heathrow slots will continue to be held by Aer Lingus. The Government will have a veto over the sale of the Heathrow slots under the new deal.

The deal will see Aer Lingus continue to operate its routes between Heathrow and Dublin, Cork and Shannon for at least seven years.

Read more: Focus to switch to Ryanair as IAG makes formal €1.36bn offer for Aer Lingus

The Government has also received a legally binding commitment on the Aer Lingus brand and keeping the company's head office in Ireland.

There had been fears that if IAG is itself sold or taken over by another company, the guarantees could be changed or ignored by IAG’s new owners. However, speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said that this was not the case.

When asked whether the guarantees would hold if the IAG is either sold or taken over Mr Donohoe said: “Yes they do because they are written into the articles of association of Aer Lingus.

“We have a guarantee in relation to the indefinite sale of the existing slots. It is a seven year guarantee in relation to the use of slots that is not in place now."

He added: “That is a guarantee which we do not have at all at  the moment, [and] it will begin when the transaction is complete.”

The Dáil is to begin debating on the sale of the Government's stake in the airline today with a vote expected tomorrow. The Government is hoping that it can receive approval for the sale before TDs return to their constituencies for the holiday break.

Paschal Donohoe
Paschal Donohoe
Colm Barrington
Aer Lingus Aircraft At Dublin Airport

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