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Aer Lingus says prohibition decision is good news for consumers

3rd July 2007 Print
The Board of Aer Lingus has welcomed the EU Commission's prohibition decision, relating to Ryanair's hostile bid, announced on Wednesday, June 27, following an exhaustive investigation of the competition issues surrounding the unwelcome bid.

"The prohibition decision, following the EU Commission's exhaustive investigation, is good news for Aer Lingus and for our customers. Consumer choice is at the core of every competitive market and the creation of one dominant player out of Ireland, despite the protestations of Ryanair, just cannot be in the interests of consumers.

“Aer Lingus has made tremendous strides over a relatively short time in successfully executing our strategy and that work will continue apace. We are determined to deliver on our excellent prospects as an independent company and I'd like to thank our staff for their continued commitment," said John Sharman, Chairman of Aer Lingus.

When Ryanair announced its offer last October, the Board advised shareholders to reject the offer on the basis that it ignored the Company's excellent prospects as an independent company and that it was anti-competitive.

The Board and management are focussed on delivery of Aer Lingus' strategy and have made significant progress over the past nine months on its successful execution. The €400 million raised in the IPO is facilitating the expansion and replacement of short haul and long haul aircraft and the on-going development of new routes.

The Company has already announced its intention to place an order, price list valued at $2.4 billion, with Airbus for the delivery of six new A330-300E and six new A350 XWB aircraft.

Aer Lingus was first "out of the blocks" announcing three new US routes on the day of the Open Skies agreement announcement in March. Two new high specification A330 aircraft will join the fleet this summer to facilitate long haul expansion.

Aer Lingus’ pioneering, web-based partnership with JetBlue will come into operation in August, offering customers access to 51 destinations across the US, Mexico and the Caribbean.

13 new, long and short haul routes have been announced since the beginning of the year, bringing the number of European routes to 77 and North American routes to 7.

Aer Lingus has stated that it is fully committed to the implementation of an efficiency programme PCI-07 which will generate annualised savings of €20 million and will eradicate un-competitive work practices.

"The prohibition announcement supports the Board's position and allows the Company to get on with what it does best - providing consumers with choice, with year round low fares on direct services to popular destinations and with a commitment that we will look after our passengers in the event of disruptions. Aer Lingus already competes successfully with Ryanair across many routes and will continue to do so in the interests of all consumers," said John Sharman.