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Aer Lingus is more than an airline ... don't sell it


Willie Walsh

Willie Walsh

Willie Walsh

THE Willie Walsh-led bid for the takeover of Aer Lingus by IAG is doomed to failure - or should be.

Even if IAG increases its bid from €2.55 to €3 a share and there is a ever-lasting commitment on the Heathrow slots, I believe the scheme is dead in the water.

Government TDs are rightly apprehensive about the potential loss of Aer Lingus routes.

They're also concerned about job losses and the status of our regional airports should a takeover go ahead.

But the sale of Aer Lingus goes beyond bottom-line concerns, and I'm not alone in feeling this.

It is no longer the national airline, but the average Irishman and woman has an extraordinary attachment to it.

The airline's green livery and its iconic shamrock logo remains an Irish institution - even if the State owns just 25pc of the company since its 2006 privatisation.


Aer Lingus was one of the first success stories of the fledgling Irish state. It remains a source of national pride and identity.

Despite the proliferation in recent times of budget airlines, many of us still prefer to fly with our one-time national carrier - as Aer Lingus passenger numbers indicate.

On a more pragmatic note, any assurances given by IAG on the future of Aer Lingus, however well meaning, cannot be wholly relied on in the long term. Profit decides all and profit has no room for sentimentality.

For that reason the proposed sale should not proceed.