Aer Lingus boss in Ryanair blast

AER Lingus has criticised Ryanair's attempts to call an extraordinary general meeting of Aer Lingus shareholders.

It said its rival's 29pc stake in the airline should not be maintained in the long run.

The two airlines have been locked in a bitter dispute for months over Aer Lingus' large pension deficit and the absence of a dividend payment by Aer Lingus. "We believe that the context in which you frame your proposals is a continuing attempt to de-focus and distract management with consequent potential implications for performance and, as such, are not in the best interests of all shareholders," said Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington, above, in a letter to Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary.

Ryanair has twice had attempts to take over Aer Lingus rebuffed on competition grounds.