Tag Archives: Aer Lingus

European Commission approves with concerns IAG’s proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus

The European Commission (Brussels) has issued this statement concerning the proposed acquisition of Aer Lingus (Dublin) by the International Airlines Group (IAG) (London):

European Commission logo

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Irish airline Aer Lingus by International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG).

IAG is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. The clearance is conditional upon commitments offered by the parties to address the Commission’s concerns regarding the transaction as notified.

The Commission had concerns that the merged entity would have faced insufficient competition on several routes.

The Commission also found that the merged entity would have prevented Aer Lingus from continuing to provide traffic to the long-haul flights of competing airlines on several routes.

European Commissioner in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said: “By obtaining significant concessions from the airlines the Commission has ensured that air passengers will continue to have a choice of airlines at competitive prices after IAG’s takeover of Aer Lingus.

The five million passengers travelling each year from Dublin and Belfast to London will be able to choose among several strong carriers.

And we are also protecting passengers travelling on connecting flights between Ireland and the rest of the world.”

The clearance decision is conditional upon the following commitments, which address the Commission’s concerns:

The release of five daily slot pairs at London-Gatwick airport to facilitate the entry of competing airlines on routes from London to both Dublin and Belfast ; and Aer Lingus continuing to carry connecting passengers to use the long-haul flights of competing airlines out of London- Heathrow, London-Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin .

The Commission’s investigation

The Commission’s investigation found that the transaction, as initially notified, would have led to high market shares on the Dublin-London, Belfast-London and Dublin-Chicago routes. The merged entity would have faced insufficient competitive constraints from the remaining players which could ultimately lead to higher prices.

The Commission also analysed whether there was a risk that IAG would prevent passengers flying on Aer Lingus’ short-haul flights, from Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Knock and Belfast, from

connecting with long-haul flights operated by competing airlines out of other European airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Dublin and Amsterdam.

IAG submitted commitments to release five daily slot pairs at London Gatwick which can be used on the specific routes of concern, namely Dublin-London and Belfast-London.

The availability of these slots, and other incentives such as the acquisition of grandfathering rights after a certain period of time, facilitate the entry of competing airlines.

Furthermore, IAG made a commitment to enter into agreements with competing airlines which operate long-haul flights out of London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Amsterdam, Shannon and Dublin so that Aer Lingus will continue to provide these airlines with connecting passengers.

Passengers will therefore continue to have a choice to use other airlines than IAG when connecting at these airports, for instance on Heathrow-New York, Gatwick-Las Vegas, Manchester-Orlando, Amsterdam-Singapore, Shannon-Chicago, and Dublin-Chicago.

These commitments adequately address all competition concerns identified by the Commission.

The Commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or a substantial part of it. The transaction was notified to the Commission on 27 May, 2015.

Companies and products International Consolidated Airlines Group (“IAG” ) of the United Kingdom, is the holding company of British Airways, Iberia Líneas Aéreas de España S.A. and Vueling Airlines S.A.

Aer Lingus of Ireland is currently mainly owned by the Republic of Ireland and Ryanair, a competing carrier. Other significant shareholders include Etihad Airways.

Both IAG and Aer Lingus provide air transport for passengers, air transport for cargo, airport ground handling services and landside cargo handling services.

Merger control rules and procedures

The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (see Article 1 of the Merger Regulation) and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

The vast majority of mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review.

From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has a total of 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).

The commitments offered by the Parties will be made available as of 16 July under the case number

The International Airlines Group (IAG) issued this statement:

IAG logo

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) welcomes the decision by the European Commission to approve its Offer for Aer Lingus.

IAG has offered the following remedies to the EC as part of the regulatory process:

  • Five daily slot pairs will be made available to other airlines at London Gatwick for flights between the airport and Dublin or Belfast.
  • Specifically, two of the five daily frequencies must be operated between Gatwick and Dublin.
  • One daily frequency must be operated between Gatwick and Belfast.
  • The other two frequencies can be operated between Gatwick and either Dublin or Belfast.
  • Other airlines can apply for seats on Aer Lingus’ shorthaul network for their transfer passengers, on normal commercial terms.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. London’s Gatwick Airport was the main competitive concern for the EC. Aer Lingus’s Airbus A320-214 EI-DEE (msn 2250) arrives at LGW.

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

JustPlanes 25 Years banner

Ryanair agrees to sell its 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus to IAG

Ryanair (Dublin) has agreed to sell its 29.8 percent share in Aer Lingus (Dublin) to the International Airlines Group-IAG (British Airways, Iberia and Vueling Airlines) (London). The airline issued this statement:

Ryanair logo-3

The Board of Ryanair Holdings PLC today (July 10) confirmed that it has voted unanimously to accept the IAG offer for Ryanair’s 29.8% shareholding in Aer Lingus Group plc. Ryanair’s stake in Aer Lingus has been available for sale since May 2012 and the Board believes that the current IAG offer maximizes Ryanair shareholder value.

In line with this decision, Ryanair will now vote in favor of the motion at the Aer Lingus EGM on July 16 (to give the Irish Government a golden share over Aer Lingus’s Heathrow slots) and Ryanair will also vote its 29.8% shareholding in favor of acceptance of the IAG offer, subject to this offer receiving regulatory approval from the European competition authorities.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“We believe the IAG offer for Aer Lingus is a reasonable one in the current market and we plan to accept it, in the best interests of Ryanair shareholders. The price means that Ryanair will make a small profit on its investment in Aer Lingus over the past 9 years.

This sale of our stake is timely given that our original strategy for Aer Lingus (to use it as a mid-priced brand to offer competition to flag carriers at primary airports) has been overtaken by the successful rollout – since September 2013 – of Ryanair’s “Always Getting Better” strategy, which has seen the Ryanair brand successfully enter many of Europe’s primary airports, being rewarded with strong growth in our network, traffic, load factor and profitability, while keeping our fares low and our punctuality high.

We wish IAG well with their takeover of Aer Lingus. When Ryanair first bid for Aer Lingus in late 2006, Ryanair (36 million passengers) carried 4 times Aer Lingus traffic (9 million). Today Ryanair (over 100 million) carries more than 10 times Aer Lingus traffic (10 million), and we will continue to deliver the vast majority of Ireland’s traffic and tourism growth in the coming months and years.”

Ken Odeluga, a senior market analyst at www.cityindex.com.sg comments on this latest news:

City Index logo

It has taken the better part of seven months for IAG to put the final pieces of the Aer Lingus puzzle in place.

Ryanair has, after much delay, which it insisted was not down to intransigence, agreed to sell its 30% to IAG, which had already struck a deal with Ireland’s government to purchase the country’s 25%.

Reports that the EU will swiftly grant conditional approval appear credible.

Concessions by IAG were accepted by the antitrust authorities this morning. IAG offered to relinquish some slots and to give its competitors special terms, like allowing them to provide connecting at favourable terms.

All these agreements will tend to focus investors’ minds back on the details of the €1.3 billion bid, for which a strong part of the rationale rests on highly prized routes from Heathrow and lucrative routes between the UK and North America.

Aer Lingus had 300 slots at Heathrow as of December, with industry figures suggesting each is worth at least £5 million  per annum.

Also, Aer Lingus is not the unprofitable airline it was say about 15 years ago or more. It’s stronger in margin terms than Lufthansa, for instance, and had at least €550 million in free cash at last tally.

The additional 3.5%-4% of Heathrow market share will consolidate IAG’s dominance at the hub, ahead of the extension of capacity.

But now comes the hard part.

Despite its recent forecast upgrades, IAG remains the least profitable airline operator based in the UK or Ireland.

EasyJet and Ryanair are tightly matched and each seems to swap marginal dominance over the other every few years or so.

Either way, the pair has largely locked out all other large competitors in Europe, including IAG, for the last decade.

Plus, having already written down the value of its Aer Lingus stake, Ryanair’s £400 million proceeds from the sale will go straight to its bottom line.

The only way for a rival catch and match with the two above in terms of profits, is to grow, probably inorganically, and probably not in Europe, in the medium term.

With the soon-to-be-cemented deal, IAG has given itself the best chance among any large European carrier to close the profit gap, and the scale to absorb strategic hits to margins in Europe.

Top Copyright Photo: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Ryanair Boeing 737-8AS EI-DPM (msn 33640) lands in Tenerife Sur.

Ryanair aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Aer Lingus clover logo

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus Airbus A319-111 EI-EPU (msn 3102) taxies to the gate at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Skyshirts banner ad-1

ASL Aviation Group to rebrand its four European airlines

ASL Airlines 737 (15)(Flt)(ASL)(LRW)

ASL Aviation Group (Dublin) is combining and rebranding its four European airlines under the same name. Air Contractors, Europe Airpost, Farnair Switzerland and Faranair Hungary will begin operating under the ASL Airlines brand. The group issued this statement:

ASL Aviation Group logo

Ireland based ASL Aviation Group is to launch a new European airline brand, ASL Airlines, as part of its strategy for continued growth in passenger and cargo operations.

ASL’s 4 European airlines are to be renamed under the new ASL Airlines brand and there will be 4 airline operations ‘centres of excellence’ in Ireland, France, Switzerland and Hungary.

Air Contractors logo

Air Contractors will become ASL Airlines Ireland

Europe Airpost logo-1

Europe Airpost will become ASL Airlines France

Farnair Europe logo

Farnair Switzerland will become ASL Airlines Switzerland

Farnair Hungary will become ASL Airlines Hungary

The ASL Group, which employs 1,500 globally, will continue to be based at its Corporate Support Office in Swords, County Dublin and will be led by Group Chief Executive, Hugh Flynn.

The total ASL fleet is +/- 100 aircraft depending on leasing arrangements, of which 75 aircraft are flying in Europe and in future will operate as ‘ASL Airlines’. Some of these aircraft will be painted in airline customer colours while the rest will soon start to become visible in Europe’s airports in the new ASL Airlines livery.

The strategy, named ‘Platform for Growth’, is an initiative aimed building on ASL’s leading role in various express integrator, passenger and postal markets in Europe.

ASL will also expand its global presence through its interest in Safair in South Africa and cargo airlines K-Mile in Thailand and QuikJet in India where ASL announced last week that its shareholding is to increase to 72.59%.

 

The new ASL Airlines brand and identity will achieve a number of key strategic aims:

  • The creation of an evolutionary new identity and brand image
  • A progressive transition from the current ASL Aviation Group identity
  • Show a clear and consistent link between ASL Aviation Group and the 4 airlines
  • Reflect key selling points of trust, reliability, size and credibility
  • Affirm ASL’s commitment to our value proposition to our customers
  • Enable us to enhance optimisation across the group
  • Increase the competitiveness of each airline in the market

“Our intent is to have a new strong single brand that will play a major role in helping us to achieve our vision and mission and reflect our corporate values in our business”, said ASL Group Chief Executive, Hugh Flynn.

“This strong single brand will make it considerably easier to use the aircraft of the European fleet across the individual countries to meet customer demand and this increased fleet flexibility and consequent competitiveness will enable us to grow our business”, Hugh Flynn continued.

Hugh Flynn explained that ASL’s optimisation potential will include the creation of ‘Centres of Excellence’, reducing cost and improving safety, reliability, quality and profitability, 4 of ASL’s 5 corporate values.

“In addition”, he said. “there will be increased security of employment, job satisfaction and challenge for all of the people of ASL, our 5th corporate value, and the most important after safety,”, Hugh Flynn concluded.

A 5th operations ‘centre of excellence’ in South Africa will oversee the continued growth in Safair, the specialist humanitarian Hercules operator; FlySafair, South Africa’s first ‘true’ low cost airline launched in October 2014 and the two Asian airlines. ASL’s aircraft leasing platforms will also continue to be based in Dublin.

To facilitate the ‘Platform for Growth’ strategy the ASL Group is being restructured into two divisions, European Airlines and Rest of the World Airlines and Leasing.

  • The current CEO of Air Contractors, Colin Grant will become Chief Executive of the new European Airline’s division and will be based in Dublin.
  • The current CEO of Safair, Dave Andrew, will become Chief Executive of the new Rest of the World Airlines and Leasing Division and will be based between Johannesburg and Dublin.

    ‘Platform for Growth’ will see ASL increase the number of aircraft in its combined cargo and passenger fleets. Aircraft will also be transferred throughout the group to facilitate the airlines and their ‘centres of excellence’ becoming specialists in operating specific aircraft types.

    The 4 European airlines to be rebranded ASL Airlines currently operate throughout Europe for the leading express freight integrators and for postal services in France and the UK from hubs in France and Germany and between bases throughout the continent from Norway to Greece.

    Passenger services are also operated under the airlines own brand from Switzerland, Ireland and France while the Irish airline, Air Contractors, operates three passenger Boeing 757’s on daily transatlantic flights from Dublin and Shannon to Canada and the United States.

Air Contractors – ASL Airlines Ireland

Copyright Photo above: SM Fitzwilliams Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. ATR 72-212 EI-SLK (msn 395) prepares to land at Shannon.

Irish Airline, Air Contractors, will be rebranded as ‘ASL Airlines’ Ireland. Just last week the airline won the prestigious ‘Aircraft Operator of the Year’ award at the Irish Aviation Authority sponsored Irish Aviation Awards.

Copyright Photo above: TMK Photography/AirlinersGallery.com. Air Contractors operates this Boeing 757-2Q8 EI-LBS (msn 27623) for Aer Lingus.

Air Contractors operates Boeing 757-200 transatlantic passenger services from Shannon and Dublin to North America for Aer Lingus and also operates Boeing 737 charter passenger services throughout Europe from Dublin, Shannon, Cork and Knock Airports.

The airline also operates a fleet of turbo prop and jet aircraft for express parcel integrators throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Air Contractors aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Europe Airpost – ASL Airlines France

Paris CDG based Europe Airpost will be rebranded as ‘ASL Airlines’ France. The airline operates a fleet of Boeing 737-300/-400/-700 aircraft on passenger and cargo services.

Copyright Photo above: Arnd Wolf/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-31S EI-STA (msn 29057) of Europe Airpost arrives at scenic Salzburg, Austria.

Europe Airpost flies passenger charter services for tour operators throughout Europe and the Mediterranean countries, as well as VIP and ad hoc passenger flights throughout the world. On the cargo side, Europe Airpost flies for overnight and postal operators within France and Europe, and operates ad hoc cargo flights throughout the world.

As part of its strategy of diversification, Europe Airpost also operates a weekly scheduled cargo service out of Paris CDG to Tunis, and a number of seasonal scheduled passenger routes serving France, Austria, Portugal and Halifax (Nova Scotia/Canada) via Dublin.

Europe Airpost aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Video: Europe Airpost:

Farnair Europe – ASL Airlines Switzerland and ASL Airlines Hungary

The two European airlines in the Farnair Group will be rebranded as ‘ASL Airlines’ Switzerland and ASL Airlines Hungary.

Copyright Photo above: Paul Bannwarth/AirlinersGallery.com. Farnair Switzerland ATR 42-320 HB-AFF (msn 264) arrives back at the Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg base.

Farnair operates a fleet of turbo prop and jet aircraft for express parcel integrators throughout Europe and also operates cargo turbo prop services in Africa. Farnair also operates ATR42 passenger services.

Farnair’s joint venture airlines in Asia, Quikjet in India and K-Mile in Thailand are not included in the rebranding initiative.

Farnair aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Video:

Aer Lingus to add Liverpool service

Aer Lingus (Dublin) will add the Dublin – Liverpool route on October 23. The route will be operated 16 time a week with Airbus A320 aircraft according to Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-214 EI-DEL (msn 2409) taxies at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

IAG moves one step closer to acquiring a 25% share of Aer Lingus

IAG logo

British Airways (London) and Iberia (Madrid) parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) (London) has confirmed that it has reached agreement with Aer Lingus (Dublin) to make a €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) (£1 billion) cash offer for Ireland’s national carrier.

Aer Lingus clover logo

The deal, which comes after months of negotiations, values Aer Lingus at €2.55 a share ($2.80 a share).

The board of the Irish carrier is recommending the offer, which was made after confirmation from the Irish government that it is willing to sell its 25 percent stake in Aer Lingus.

The decision of the sale was made at a meeting of the Irish cabinet late on Tuesday, which itself followed indications earlier in the day from Brussels that European competition authorities would not stand in IAG’s path.

Yesterday (May 28) IAG updated the Aer Lingus offer with this formal statement: CLICK HERE

Read more from The Irish Times: CLICK HERE

Assistant Editor Oliver Wilcock reporting from Manchester.

Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. Aer Lingus Airbus A320-214 EI-DEO (msn 2486) in the special Green Spirit – Official Airline of the Irish Rugby Team livery taxies at the home of IAG and British Airways – London (Heathrow).

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Video: Aer Lingus unveils Airbus A320 EI-DEO in a new “Green Spirit” special rugby livery, now flying

Aer Lingus (Dublin) as reported, yesterday (May 10) unveiled its new “Green Spirit” special livery in support of the Irish Rugby Team. The carrier is the official airline of the national team. The new livery has been painted on the pictured Airbus A320-214 EI-DEO (msn 2486) which was formerly painted in full Virgin Atlantic colors for the Little Red operation.

Copyright Photo Below: Greenwing/AirlinersGallery.com. EI-DEO as of today, May 11, is now flying on revenue flights. It is pictured in bright sunlight departing this morning from Dublin.

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG Hot New Photos-Top 100

Aer Lingus today unveils its new “Green Spirit” Airbus A320 rugby logo jet

Aer Lingus A320-200 EI-DEO (15-Green Spirit)(Grd) DUB (MKY)(LRW)

Aer Lingus (Dublin) today (May 10) unveiled its new “Green Spirit” Airbus A320 logo jet at a media event in Dublin. Formerly operated for Virgin Atlantic Airways (London) on the Little Red service, the pictured Airbus A320-214 EI-DEO (msn 2486) now sports this special scheme.

Aer Lingus has entered into a partnership with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) as the official airline of the Irish Rugby Team.

Aer Lingus Irish Rugby Team logo

Aer Lingus will paint a second Airbus A320 in September to show their support for the IRFU.

EI-DEO will go into service tomorrow, Monday May 11, 2015, and will operate across Aer Lingus’ short haul network to the UK and Continental Europe.

The three-year deal will see Aer Lingus support the IRFU by flying players, management and support staff around Europe as they compete in the RBS Six Nations Championships and in other high-profile international tournaments.

Commenting on the partnership, Aer Lingus Chief Executive Officer Stephen Kavanagh said: “The livery in IRFU and player branding is a first for Aer Lingus and recognizes the contribution sport makes to all our lives”.

The partnership deal with the IRFU is part of a strategy by Aer Lingus to promote the brand and its commitment in supporting the best of the Irish.

Report and copyright photos by Assistant Editor Michael Kelly from Dublin.

Aer Lingus aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Aer Lingus A320-200 EI-DEO (15-Green Spirit)(Grd-1) DUB (MKY)(LRW)