Friday 15 December 2017

Ryanair will appeal order to cut 29pc Aer Lingus stake

Michael O'Leary and Kenny Jacobs
Michael O'Leary and Kenny Jacobs
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair's appeal over the ruling that it must sell most of its 29.8pc stake in Aer Lingus could take more than a year.

The UK's Court of Appeal upheld a previous ruling, which had ordered Ryanair to reduce its stake in its smaller rival to no more than 5pc on competition grounds.

Ryanair's chief commercial officer Kenny Jacobs confirmed the airline will appeal the ruling to the UK's Supreme Court.

"We will appeal the decision. We think it's wrong and we'll also ask for a formal review," he said.

Ryanair is expected to seek permission within a month from the Supreme Court in London to make its appeal.

It will make that application based on three points of law that it claims the court should consider.

But with the Ryanair-Aer Lingus case being unique, and unlikely to be repeated in future, it is possible that the Supreme Court may decide not to allow an appeal.

If an appeal is granted, it could be a year before a decision is handed down.

Aer Lingus welcomed yesterday's court decision.

"This is the third time that the Court of Appeal has rejected Ryanair's attempts to derail the UK competition authorities' investigations and finding," it said.

The ruling came just hours before IAG boss Willie Walsh faced TDs and Senators in a hearing at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport yesterday.

Mr Jacobs said the ruling is separate to a decision on whether Ryanair would sell its Aer Lingus stake to IAG.

He said that IAG's approach to buy Aer Lingus remains a "sideshow" for Ryanair.

Ryanair was originally ordered to cut its stake in 2013.

Irish Independent

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