Ryanair's O'Leary says he will appeal if EU blocks its bid for Aer Lingus
10-May-07, LONDON (AFX) - Ryanair Holdings PLC will appeal if the EU opposes its hostile takeover bid for Irish carrier Aer Lingus when it concludes its inquiry in July, chief executive Michael O'Leary said. <br>
"The EU will rule in the interests of the Irish government rather than the consumer," he said. "We hope they will approve (the deal) but we suspect they won´t, in which case we will immediately appeal to the European Court."
A verdict against Ryanair´s lapsed bid would be "purely political", in light of the approval of Air France´s tie-up with KLM and Flybe´s recent takeover of BA Connect, O´Leary said at a press conference in London.
Aer Lingus today announced it is increasing its fuel surcharges to 100 eur from 70 eur for a return trip across the Atlantic. Ryanair had promised to scrap these charges in its offer document submitted to the EU, he added.
O´Leary´s comments came as the airline launched a price promotion, with 10 mln seats across Europe on sale for prices from 10 stg each including taxes, in response to the recent softening in passenger yields.
"We´re launching our latest price war across Europe," O´Leary said.
The market "over-reacted" to the softening of yields and the recent two percentage point decline in the airline´s load factor to 83 pct in April, he said.
"We are still growing capacity and responding aggressively with lower fares and price promotions," he said.
The low-cost airline is also quoting prices inclusive of tax on its website for the first time, and says it will pay double the difference in fares if passengers find a cheaper fare on the same route with any other airline.