Aer Lingus has welcomed the decision announced today by the European Commission (EC) prohibiting Ryanair’s offer for Aer Lingus. This is the first occasion on which the EC has needed to block the same deal twice. It is also Ryanair’s third failed offer for Aer Lingus.
The full text of the EC’s announcement and frequently asked questions are linked below:
The number of routes into and out of Ireland on which Aer Lingus and Ryanair compete has sharply increased since the first offer was blocked in 2007, so the repeated prohibition was always to be expected. Aer Lingus is Ryanair’s only significant competitor on the vast majority of Irish air routes, and both business and leisure travellers are well served by the vigorous competition that has been preserved between these two carriers.
Christoph Mueller, Chief Executive of Aer Lingus, said: “Aer Lingus’s position from the outset has been that Ryanair’s offer should never have been made. The series of inadequate remedy offers presented by Ryanair only underlines the view that Ryanair made its offer without any reasonable belief that it could obtain clearance. ”
Aer Lingus continues to co-operate with the UK Competition Commission (UK CC) in its investigation into Ryanair’s 29.8% shareholding in Aer Lingus. The UK CC investigation began following the referral by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading on 15 June 2012, which observed that “there is a realistic prospect that its stake has resulted or will result in a substantial lessening of competition.” The announcement of Ryanair’s bid on 19 June, just four days later, was clearly motivated by a desire to derail the UK CC’s investigation.
Ryanair to Appeal
Ryanair has confirmed that it will appeal the EU Commission’s decision.