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Ten airlines in Ryanair's bid

Ryanair has confirmed that up to 10 airline groups could form part its takeover bid for Aer Lingus.

Chief Michael O'Leary (pictured) has held face-to-face talks with British Airways boss Willie Walsh in an attempt to persuade the EU to give the takeover the green light.

Airlines including Virgin, CityJet and IAG have already shown interest in forming part of the company's "remedy package", according to a Ryanair spokesman.

As part of its attempts to allay competition fears in Brussels, Ryanair wants to offload some valuable Aer Lingus landing slots at Heathrow to rivals in return for a commitment from them to service Dublin in competition with Ryanair and Aer Lingus.

Mr Walsh, who is chief executive of British Airways and Iberia owner IAG, had been in Dublin to speak to Mr O'Leary within the past couple of months, according to a spokesperson from the no-frills airline.

Ryanair has pledged to slash fares to the US to as little as €99 and reduce the average Aer Lingus fare by €20, if it gets approval for a €694m takeover.

A spokesman said that the airline's management was confident that Brussels would find it "very difficult" not to approve the takeover of Aer Lingus, on competition grounds, on the back of the proposals.