European Commission and Shareholders Approve Aer Lingus Sale

T he European Commission has cleared the proposed €1.36 billion acquisition of a stake of 30 percent of Aer Lingus by International Consolidated Airlines Group from Ryanair, according to this official press release; and a review of this acquisition by the Department of Justice of the United States has apparently been “satisfactorily concluded.”

The acquisition was contingent upon conditions which were approved by shareholders of Aer Lingus earlier today at a meeting in Dublin, according to this article written by Pamela Newenham of The Irish Times. The conditions include the following:

  • The release of five daily slot pairs at London-Gatwick airport to facilitate the entry of competing airlines on routes from London to both Dublin and Belfast; and
  • Aer Lingus continuing to carry connecting passengers to use the long-haul flights of competing airlines out of London-Heathrow, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin

 

Shareholders of Aer Lingus include the Republic of Ireland and Etihad Airways.

Officials at Ryanair hope to secure the slots at Gatwick Airport as a result of its sale of the sale. Meanwhile, International Consolidated Airlines Group — which launched its takeover bid for Aer Lingus back in January of this year; but speculation of the transaction was already being discussed by members of FlyerTalk as early as Thursday, December 18, 2014 — has “promised to grow services and jobs at the Irish airline” and reportedly wants to use Dublin as a transatlantic hub.

Unlike British Midland International —  whose sale to International Airlines Group was finalized back in 2011 and eventually ceased to exist as an airline — Aer Lingus will continue as an airline despite the acquisition. In other words, nothing changes for customers as of now, as operations continue as normal.

There is also no word at this time whether or not the “currency” of the Gold Circle frequent flier loyalty program will be replaced by Avios; but British Airways Executive Club is already a current partner.

When I was researching flights from Budapest to Dublin and then from Dublin to Madrid, the non-stop routes were mainly operated by Ryanair and Aer Lingus. I chose Ryanair because the flights were less expensive; the flights were not particularly long; and I had never flown as a passenger aboard an airplane operated by Ryanair up until that point. This is a review of my first time as a passenger of Ryanair; and this is a review of my second time.

International Consolidated Airlines Group is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling airlines; and it was formed as a result of the merger of British Airways and Iberia, which began with an agreement back in November of 2009.

The world headquarters of Ryanair in Swords, Ireland. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

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