Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Timmy Dooley TD, has called on the Minister for Transport to outline what contingency measures have been put in place to deal with a possible Ryanair takeover of Aer Lingus.
Deputy Dooley was reacting to reports today that Ryanair may get the go ahead from the European Commission to begin a takeover of Aer Lingus.
“Minister Varadkar needs to outline what analysis he has undertaken and what information he has gathered on the effect of a Ryanair takeover of Aer Lingus. The Minister must also reveal what actions he has taken and what contingency measures are in place should Ryanair be successful in their bid.
“The Minister has previously indicated the Government’s stake in Aer Lingus is not strategic but we need to ascertain how he would deal with the reduced connectivity to Europe and America and the loss of key landing slots at Heathrow airport.”
Deputy Dooley added that there would be huge consequences for the Irish economy, the Irish airline industry and the Irish tourism sector of such a takeover.
“The Minister needs to publish all documentation and correspondence between his Department and the European Commission regarding Ryanair’s proposals to acquire Aer Lingus.
“We need to know how committed the Government is in blocking this takeover and it is only through the publication of the communication that the public will know how serious the Government is.
“When Ryanair’s bid for Aer Lingus was launched last June, I said at the time that the takeover would reduce the competitiveness of the Irish aviation sector.
“The existence of both airlines as separate competing entities has transformed our tourism and business connectivity.
“Ryanair has been a positive development in the Irish airline industry and has transformed the way we travel by air. However, if there was a takeover of Aer Lingus there would be huge issues regarding competition law.
“A potential takeover of Aer Lingus is of huge public concern and there must be proper plans put in place to deal with this.”