Aer Lingus ready to join British Airways parent IAG, says chairman
Irish airline Aer Lingus says it now strongly favors its acquisition by British Airways parent IAG in a statement to shareholders issued Friday.
IAG officials spent two days in Dublin this week lobbying the Irish government, the airline’s No. 2 shareholder, to part with its 25.1 percent stake in the airline. IAG has stressed it won’t proceed with its takeover bid, valuing Aer Lingus at 1.36 billion euros ($1.55 billion), unless the government agrees to sell.
Aer Lingus Chairman Colm Barrington said an IAG takeover would allow the airline to grow most strongly on North American routes, with Dublin Airport likely to grow as “a natural gateway” for trans-Atlantic travelers.
Barrington said detailed analysis of IAG’s Jan. 26 offer of 2.55 euros ($2.90) per share, an improvement on two earlier offers, shows that “a combination of Aer Lingus with IAG has a compelling strategic rationale and will deliver significant benefits for Aer Lingus, its employees, its customers and for Ireland.”