Board members at Air Lingus are “considering” the latest takeover offer from International Airlines Group.
IAG – owner of British Airways and Iberia, as well as low-cost carrier Veuling – saw two offers for the Irish flag carrier rejected at the end of 2014, but returned with a revised offer of €2.55 a share.
For the new €1.36 billion to be successful it must secure the recommendation of the Aer Lingus board and both Ryanair and the Irish government.
Ryanair has a 29.8 per cent stake in fellow Irish carrier Aer Lingus, while the government owns 25 per cent.
Aer Lingus reported its strongest summer trading for several years last year, with operating profits up 19 per cent to €113 million for in the three months to September 30th.
The Irish airline is the fourth largest operator at London Heathrow, with IAG keen to acquire the 23 pairs of take-off and landing slots the airline maintains there.
This would allow both BA and Iberia to operate more flights from the airport is it seeks to grow in the face of developing competition from Middle Eastern carriers.