Ryanair is planning to fight the UK Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold an earlier ruling that it must cut its stake in rival Irish airline Aer Lingus to just five per cent.
The UK Competition Commission (now the CMA) investigated Ryanair’s 29.8 per cent shareholding in Aer Lingus to see if it prevented that carrier from merging to remain competitive.
Ryanair will now appeal this case to the UK Supreme Court, as it raises human rights issues of significant public importance, including the scope of protection offered to businesses by the right to property.
In parallel, Ryanair has requested a formal review by the CMA of its Final Report, and a withdrawal of the divestment remedy,
The CMA proposed in its Final Report that Ryanair’s 29 per cent shareholding would deter other airlines from merging with or bidding for Aer Lingus.
Aer Lingus is presently the subject of a takeover proposal from International Airlines Group.
Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said: “While we note the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the CMA’s Final Report on Ryanair’s 29 per cent stake in Aer Lingus, this judgment ignores the fact that the CMA’s Final Report was based on fanciful hypotheses, secretive “evidence” and unsubstantiated assumptions.
“As such, we have instructed our lawyers to appeal this ruling to the UK Supreme Court.”
“Additionally, Ryanair has now requested a formal review by the CMA of its Final Report, and a withdrawal of the divestment remedy, in light of the recent IAG offers for Aer Lingus, which wholly disprove the CMA’s unsubstantiated claim that Ryanair’s shareholding somehow prevented other airlines from merging with or bidding for Aer Lingus. Clearly the CMA’s case has now been totally undermined by the IAG offers.”