O’Leary: No third bid for Aer Lingus


DUBLIN – Irish budget airline Ryanair said on Thursday that if rival Aer Lingus keeps slashing costs and fails to grow the government would eventually ask it to bail out the former state carrier.

“If they continue down this road of constant restructuring programmes, constant job cuts and no growth the government will ultimately be forced to come to Ryanair and ask it to rescue it,” Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told national broadcaster RTE.

Aer Lingus’s new Chief Executive Christoph Mueller told staff on Wednesday he planned to axe nearly one in five jobs and cut salaries to secure the loss-making carrier’s survival.

The airline has struggled to compete with Ryanair, Europe’s largest budget airline and one of the most cost-efficient players in the industry.

Ryanair, still growing profit unlike rivals such as British Airways, has twice tried to take Aer Lingus over and earlier this year saw a bid at 1.4 euros a share rejected by the government, which owns 25 percent of the airline.

O’Leary said it was highly unlikely Ryanair, which has a 29 percent stake in its rival, would table a third bid for Aer Lingus, whose shares were down 2.7 percent at 0.72 euros in afternoon trade, wiping out much of the gain made on the back of Wednesday’s restructuring.

Ryanair was 0.3 percent weaker at 3.479 euros.