LONDON, England – Whilst the British election has held centre stage, the minor matter of the Aer Lingus ownership rumbles on. Ryanair has appealed to the UK’s Supreme Court saying that the previous decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is, according to Chief Executive Michael O’Leary, “manifestly absurd” and “irrational, hopelessly wrong and contrary to the real world evidence.”
Aer Lingus lawyers have told the CMA that a trustee appointed to sell Ryanair’s Aer Lingus shares can now, if necessary, “play its part in facilitating IAG’s pending bid approach to Aer Lingus.”
Last month, the CMA said that it has provisionally upheld a 2013 ruling it made ordering Ryanair to cut its stake in Aer Lingus to no more than 5%. Indications are that the Court will not make public its decision until late June or even July. In the meantime IAG sits quietly in the side-lines, Chief Executive Willie Walsh, one time boss of Aer Lingus, and clearly in touch with the Dublin pulse, confident that his bid will succeed.
The one other fly in the ointment is the Irish election, no date fixed, but less than 11 months away. The present government supports the take-over but the airline trade unions seem not so keen. O’Leary’s view has never been publically stated.