Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley says so called “safeguards” from IAG on Aer Lingus’ connectivity offer no guarantees on the retention of the valuable Heathrow slots. IAG’s proposal to protect these slots for a 5 year period falls well short of the mark, and offers no long term security on routes between Heathrow and Dublin, Cork and Shannon.
Fianna Fáil remains entirely opposed to the sale of the Government’s stake in Aer Lingus, believing the takeover has the potential to seriously undermine Ireland’s connectivity, as well as having a negative impact on jobs.
Deputy Dooley commented, “The offer put on the table this afternoon is more aspirational than it is concrete. In fact, IAG will have no control over any commitments given, if it is bought out by another company, and given that Qatari Airlines recently acquired a 10% stake in IAG, that prospect is a real possibility.
“If it is the case that IAG is the subject of a successful takeover bid, the effective management of Aer Lingus would be transferred to the new parent company and any assurances given by IAG on employment and connectivity would be weakened, or even rendered null and void. This prospect enhances the case for Aer Lingus remaining as an independent, profitable airline committed to growing and expanding its Irish base.
“The IAG assurances ring hollow. Today’s announcement fails to outline what redress or sanctions would be open to the Government in the event of a breach of any assurances or guarantees provided in return for of the state’s sale of the 25% stake in the airline.
“The IAG offer poses a serious threat to Ireland’s connectivity, especially now that it is itself the subject of corporate activity. The Government cannot ignore this new and heightened risk, and must act in the best interests of the country by blocking any takeover. The Fianna Fáil led Government took the decision to maintain a 25% stake in Aer Lingus so that Ireland’s connectivity would be protected, and this Government must ensure that that principle is upheld and reject this offer”.