Ryanair To Fight For Aer Lingus Takeover
Ryanair is to appeal a decision by the European Commission to block its proposed takeover of Aer Lingus over fears of higher fares.
The no frills carrier, which already owns almost 30% of the rival Irish airline, claimed it was a purely political move to protect the Irish Government's 25% stake.
The bid - Ryanair's third attempt to take control of Aer Lingus - was accompanied by a comprehensive remedies package to satisfy previous competition concerns, the budget airline said.
It included two upfront buyers - British Airways' owner International Airlines Group and Flybe - to take over around half of Aer Lingus's short-haul business.
Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said: "We regret that this prohibition is manifestly motivated by narrow political interests rather than competition concerns and we believe that we have strong grounds for appealing and overturning this politically-inspired prohibition.
"This decision leaves Aer Lingus as a small, isolated airline and leaves the two Irish airlines at the mercy of the Government-owned Dublin Airport monopoly, which continues to increase passenger charges, deliver third-rate services and oversee traffic declines."
Following the decision, Aer Lingus said consumers were being better served by vigorous competition set by the two airlines and the takeover should never have been made.
Chief executive Christoph Mueller said: "The series of inadequate remedy offers presented by Ryanair only underlines the view that Ryanair made its offer without any reasonable belief that it could obtain clearance."
Joaquin Almunia, European Commissioner for competition, said the ruling protected more than 11 million Irish and European passengers flying in and out of Dublin, Cork, Knock and Shannon.
"For them, the acquisition of Aer Lingus by Ryanair would have most likely led to higher fares," he said.