Ryanair is reportedly making a third attempt to acquire Aer Lingus. CEO Michael O’Leary stated the former Irish flag carrier needs a strong partner to secure its future and a Ryanair partnership would help double the size of Aer Lingus’ short-haul fleet within a few years (This is Money/Poten & Partners, 01-May-2011). Mr O’Leary is believed to have approached the Irish government to acquire its 25% stake in Aer Lingus. The LCC holds a 29% stake in Aer Lingus and is the largest single shareholder. Mr O'Leary reportedly decided to make the approach after a Mar-2011 government report outlined plans to sell certain assets to reduce debt, one of which was its stake in Aer Lingus, now worth about EUR110 million. The European Commission has blocked two attempts by Ryanair to acquire Aer Lingus on competition grounds - one in 2006 and the other in 2008. The Commission is believed to still hold the view that merging the airlines would create a monopoly on Dublin services.
Ryanair attempts Aer Lingus takeover, again: reports
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Europe summer 2017 airline capacity outlook: fifth successive summer of above trend seat growth
Airline seat growth from Europe in summer 2017 is set to stay at almost 6% for the third successive summer, according to data from OAG. This rate had not previously been reached since 2010, although this will be the fifth straight summer of growth ahead of its 10 year average rate. The summer 2017 season started on 26-Mar-2017 and, although always subject to further change, the data give a fairly clear picture.
Seat capacity on routes from Europe to Africa will grow the fastest, as the region recovers from a terrorism related drop in demand in North Africa. There will also be above trend growth in almost every other region from Europe (including intra Europe). The only exception is Europe-Middle East, where the newly cautious Gulf airlines' growth is slowing this summer.
On the North Atlantic, always important for the profitability of Europe's leading legacy airlines, growth will be faster than its 10 year trend, but it will at least be a little slower than in the past summer. The loss of market share from the immunised North Atlantic JVs to newer and smaller competitors, including LCCs, is set to continue. As ever, the OAG capacity data provide a window into the changing structure of the airline markets from Europe.
Aer Lingus part 2: vies with Icelandair, airberlin, Norwegian as leading Nth Atlantic value carrier
Aer Lingus' mission statement includes an aim to be the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic. Although this is not explicitly defined, it can validly claim to be among the top four in this category. Also vying with Aer Lingus for this title are Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
Part 1 of this report on Aer Lingus looked at the development of its capacity and its financial performance, both before and after the acquisition by IAG in Aug-2015. This second part compares its North Atlantic network and its unit cost positioning with those of Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
All four are currently pursuing rapid growth between Europe and North America and have similar weekly seat capacity scheduled in this market for summer 2017. Their trans Atlantic networks differ by their numbers of North American destinations, European hubs serving that region and European destinations connected to those hubs.
Aer Lingus is well placed among the four, but cannot currently claim to be the leading North Atlantic value carrier. Norwegian, with multiple European long haul bases, is developing quite differently from the other three. Moreover, although Aer Lingus is cost efficient, Norwegian has a significant CASK advantage.