Ryanair has asked at least six airlines to operate alternate services on some of Aer Lingus’ routes, as it seeks regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition bid.
Ryanair has approached Air France KLM, easyJet, Etihad Airways, Flybe, International Airlines Group (IAG), and Virgin Atlantic, asking them to provide competition on routes to and from Dublin where the two Irish carriers are the only airline service providers.
But obstacles are no less for Ryanair as most of these carriers expressed little or no interest in operating services to Ireland. British Airways, the UK subsidiary of IAG, and Virgin Atlantic expressed interests in using the Aer Lingus’ slots at London Heathrow Airport to provide services to Dublin, but they were not interested in providing services from Ireland to any other European destination.
While Flybe may consider operating on some routes, easyJet has shown no interest. Air France KLM and Etihad Airways also followed the easyJet way by opting to not fly on any of Ryanair’s or Aer Lingus’ routes. Etihad has 3% stake in Aer Lingus and is supporting Aer Lingus by rejecting Ryanair’s bid.
The European Commission is expected to launch an in-depth investigation into Ryanair’s third offer to Aer Lingus on Wednesday. It may be noted that the commission had prevented Ryanair’s first bid five years ago.
It may be noted that Ryanair’s third offer to Aer Lingus made in June involved €1.30 (£1.02) per Aer Lingus share, valuing the carrier’s equity at €694 million (£549 million), which was not palatable to Aer Lingus’ shareholders, who asked for a revision in the bid.