17 DECEMBER 2012
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According to a report in Saturday’s Financial Times Ryanair, in its seemingly desperate bid to acquire Aer Lingus, has agreed to sell the majority of the Irish national airline's slots at Heathrow to British Airways if the EU agrees its takeover bid. At the same time Britain's Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by Ryanair to block regulators investigating the budget carrier's minority shareholding in the airline run by Michael O’Leary.
British Airways dropped its own Irish routes some years back and would come back on Dublin, Cork and Shannon for at least three years. After that these points could lose their Heathrow connections leaving BA with a means to expand its long haul services. The actual financial value of the slots would be a point of contention, but such a deal would seem to be to British Airways' advantage.
According to the report, Flybe has offered to operate flights for three years on 20 routes where Ryanair and Aer Lingus currently both have services. Any deal should not affect the Virgin – Aer Lingus arrangement short term.
International Airlines Group, parent of British Airways, said: “We have signed a non-binding MOU [memorandum of understanding] with Ryanair which is subject to EC approval ... and IAG board approval”. www.ba.com www.ryanair.com
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