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.
"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.