International Consolidated Airlines has highlighted the importance of direct air services and connectivity for investment and tourism in Ireland following its offer for the airline.
IAG argues its proposal would secure and strengthen Aer Lingus’ long term future and brand as a member of a successful and profitable European airline group, offering significant benefits to both Aer Lingus and its customers.
To secure the support of the Irish Government, IAG is proposing to offer legally binding commitments that go well beyond the protections currently available to the Government and would give it an important role in securing the future of Aer Lingus.
The proposed commitments would ensure that, unless there is explicit Irish government agreement, Aer Lingus’ 23 slot pairs at London Heathrow cannot be sold, including to other IAG airlines.
IAG also said Aer Lingus’ name, head office location or place of incorporation in the Republic of Ireland, cannot be changed, while the group is also prepared to offer a further commitment to operate the slots on Irish routes for five years.
This is protection that the government does not have today, IAG said in a statement.
Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: “We are committed to maintaining and strengthening Aer Lingus.
“We want to develop air services that ensure Ireland’s connectivity is enhanced.
“In seeking the support of the Irish government, we propose to offer it legally binding commitments that go well beyond the protections currently available to it.
“These commitments would give the Irish government an important role that they do not have today in securing the future of Aer Lingus.”
The commitments and giving greater powers to the Irish Government will be subject to Irish Takeover Rules and EU competition review, following consultation with IAG.
IAG also said today Aer Lingus would operate as a separate business with its own brand, management and operations, continuing to provide connectivity to Ireland, while benefiting from the scale of being part of the larger group.