Thursday 14 December 2017

Willie or won't he coax our TDs to take a flier on IAG?

Willie Walsh of IAG
Willie Walsh of IAG
Lise Hand

Lise Hand

The committee room was as jam-packed as the Monday morning red-eye from Dublin to Heathrow. Every member's seat was full - window, aisle and even middle seats were all occupied. There wasn't even room to stow a bag of duty-free.

Sitting opposite the transport committee members was Willie Walsh, boss of International Airlines Group (IAG) aka The Heathrow Slot-Snatcher. For such a high-flyer (pardon the expression), Willie had no large retinue in tow, just a single financial adviser to keep an eye on proceedings.

The airline boss was in the middle of his two-day charm offensive, zipping around Dublin like a Gulfstream jet, buzzing from meeting to meeting to media interview, in a Herculean effort to persuade beady-eyed politicians and public alike that the sky won't fall in if the State sells its 25.1pc share in Aer Lingus.

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