Aer Lingus' action in the face of all of its problems is practically cute, but it likely won't be able to outflank Ryanair's Michael O'Leary this time.
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Author: Nathalie Thomas
Aer Lingus is considering an expansion into domestic flights in Britain in a clear signal to Ryanair that it is pursuing its own growth strategy and has no intention of submitting to a takeover.
The Irish flag carrier is lining up a bid for some of the 12 Heathrow take-off and landing-slots available after the acquisition of bmi by British Airways in March.
Aer Lingus intends to offer flights between Edinburgh and Heathrow. Applications are due next month.
Virgin Atlantic will also compete for the slots. Virgin will unveil plans today also to offer flights between London and Moscow, if it wins the slots. International Airlines Group, BA’s parent company, agreed with the European Commission to give up 14 slot pairs as a condition of its takeover of bmi.
Two of those slot pairs are leased to Russian carrier Transaero. The EC will take the final decision over which airline gets the extra slots.
It has prescribed that eight of the 12 slot pairs must be used for flights between Heathrow and Edinburgh or Aberdeen to provide adequate competition to BA.
Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, made a surprise €1.3 (£1) a share offer for Aer Lingus last month, which values the carrier at about €694m (£560m). It has until next Tuesday to submit a full bid.
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