Deputy Dooley says such a sale could see the airline’s critical Heathrow slots “siphoned off”, risking future connectivity and growth.
“Even if assurances on the slots are forthcoming in advance of a sale, such commitments would be non-binding and likely to be eroded over time,” he added.
Deputy Dooley commented, “The threat to these valuable Heathrow slots is being dramatically underestimated. Any loss of these slots has the potential to severely reduce access to international destinations, which are currently serviced through Heathrow. The continuation of these slots is of major strategic interest; Ireland is highly dependent on exports and tourism and the Heathrow slots are valuable commodities in maintaining our links to Europe, the US, Asia and Australia. These routes are a major enabler in facilitating inward investment as well as boosting our tourism figures.”
“The Government must act to ensure that it does not allow Aer Lingus management to cave to any bid from IAG. I’m calling on Minister Paschal Donohoe to use the State’s 25% shareholding to block any IAG buyout attempts. Ireland’s strategic national interests must be protected and that will not be done through a quick fire sale, which relinquishes valuable slots at Heathrow, risks up to 1,000 jobs and gives away forever an important strategic asset”.