Source: The Daily Telegraph
Author: Nathalie Thomas
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary intends to use a takeover of Aer Lingus to launch ultra low-cost flights across the Atlantic, it is understood.
Aer Lingus’s long-haul connections to New York, Boston and Chicago are believed to be one of the key attractions of the flag carrier, which Ryanair is hunting for a third time.
Ministers in Dublin will meet on Tuesday to discuss the surprise €1.30-a-share offer by Ryanair, which Aer Lingus has dismissed as too low.
Gert Zonneveld, of Panmure Gordon, said a merger with Aer Lingus would allow Mr O’Leary to “experiment” with cheap transatlantic flights.
The flamboyant aviation boss has hinted in the past he would like to spark a revolution in long-haul travel by offering seats to America for as little as €10 (£8). Aer Lingus is the third biggest holder of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, with 23 pairs.
“Because Aer Lingus already flies to a number of destinations, Ryanair could dabble in the long-haul business. From that point of view, Aer Lingus is a very interesting proposition,” Mr Zonneveld said.
Many in the City believe Ryanair’s chances of clearing competition hurdles to buy Aer Lingus have improved.
Meanwhile, Li Ka-shing, Asia’s wealthiest man, is believed to be closing in on a stake in Manchester Airports Group.