Ryanair, Europe’s only ultra-low cost airline, confirmed today (14 Nov) that its discussions continue with the European Commission about its radical package of remedies designed to address the Commission’s competition concerns in relation to Ryanair’s 19 June offer for Aer Lingus. This comprehensive remedies package includes a number of new airline bases in Dublin, new entrant competitors on over 40 routes to/from Dublin, Cork and Shannon, as well as specific competition solutions that guarantee increased price competition on routes to and from Ireland.
Following receipt of the Commission’s statement of objections last evening (13 Nov), a standard procedural step in Phase II EU merger reviews, Ryanair expects that the Commission will shortly market test this transformational remedies package, and remains confident that its offer for Aer Lingus will receive competition clearance following any fair assessment by the Commission. A detailed process of engagement with the EU Commission is now underway.
Ryanair’s offer for Aer Lingus is being reviewed while dramatic changes take place across the EU airline industry, including: (1) a large restructuring of Iberia with 4,500 job losses; (2) the takeover of Vueling by IAG, combining the No 2 and No 3 airlines in Spain; (3) a major restructuring of SAS including 6,000 job losses and state backed loan guarantees; and (4) the planned merger of Aegean and Olympic, the No 1 and No 2 airlines in Greece.
It is against this backdrop that Ryanair is proposing a merger that provides secure jobs, growth opportunities and financial benefits for all shareholders in a larger Ireland based EU carrier.