1 JUNE 2020

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Article from BTNews 1 JUNE 2020

Irish media and Willie Walsh

International Airlines Group (IAG) Chief Executive Willie Walsh said that the group not would collapse due to the various governmental approaches to their local carriers, specifically underlining that there was neither "a prospect" nor "a reason" for the renationalisation of Aer Lingus.

Always happy to talk to the Dublin media, Mr Walsh, who is with IAG until October, told The Irish Examiner that the privatisation of Aer Lingus was "absolutely the right thing to do" and dismissed as "total nonsense" the idea that as a state-owned carrier it would be more resilient to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

IAG has been opposed to state bailouts to airlines during the ongoing crisis. However, Walsh underlined during a hearing at the British House of Commons Transport Committee that it did not mean that the group would not pursue the available help.

"What I have objected to in the past is state bailout. I would define bailout as when you give cash to a company that has failed or is failing. That is not the case in this situation. There are many fine companies that through no fault of their own are suffering significant financial and liquidity crises as a result of the coronavirus, and, more importantly for the airline industry, as a result of the restrictions that governments have imposed on travel. I have been very open in saying that, if there are general facilities that are available, we will, where possible, avail of those facilities if it makes sense to us," Walsh said.

IAG secured a £300m loan from the British Coronavirus Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), while its two Spanish subsidiaries, Iberia and Vueling Airlines have received €1bn in state-backed loans. Aer Lingus has yet to receive any specific state support.

www.aerlingus.com

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

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Tim Procter, Tunbridge Wells

Refreshing to read that "the group not would collapse". Presumably that's Irish?


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