Tuesday 21 November 2017

Despite the charm, Willie Walsh must go further

While Walsh's appearance persuasively highlighted the positives of IAG's bid for Aer Lingus, the insistence of politicians on chewing noisily on relatively minor bones could be interpreted as highlighting their own electoral securities
While Walsh's appearance persuasively highlighted the positives of IAG's bid for Aer Lingus, the insistence of politicians on chewing noisily on relatively minor bones could be interpreted as highlighting their own electoral securities
Willie Walsh - whose appearance before the Oireachtas Committee was 'long overdue'

Gerry Byrne

As far as introducing a badly needed dose of clarity in the Aer Lingus takeover debate is concerned, Willie Walsh's appearance before an Oireachtas Committee yesterday was long overdue.

Time and again yesterday, Walsh convincingly countered legendary political misconceptions and displayed a clever mastery of his subject, even when he was occasionally wrong-footed by the committee members. Mostly he was good-natured and polite but on one spectacular occasion he snapped off a withering put-down at Senator Seán Barrett, claiming that the transport economist got some of his figures spectacularly wrong.

Gone was any doubt about Walsh's plans for the Heathrow slots which, he repeatedly told the committee, are to remain 100pc under the control of Aer Lingus for at least five years and to be used only for connections between Ireland and Heathrow during that time.

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