Aer Lingus hits back at Ryanair over criticism

IRELAND’S Aer Lingus has written to its shareholder and rival Ryanair to reject the latter’s complaints that it is “continually ignored” by the Aer Lingus board.

In a letter sent to Ryanair and released yesterday, Aer Lingus said Ryanair was a source of concern to other investors and welcomed its recent statement that it would be prepared to sell its 30 per cent stake in Aer Lingus if the government found a buyer for the state’s 25 per cent holding.

“One of the greatest concerns that we hear from shareholders relates to Ryanair’s shareholding in the company and its impact on the company’s options and value,” chairman Colm Barrington wrote in the letter.

“As such, we welcome your recent statements that Ryanair would be prepared to dispose of its shareholding in Aer Lingus.

“We would hope to have constructive discussions with you on this issue.”

Ryanair, Europe’s largest budget airline, has twice had takeover bids for Aer Lingus rebuffed and its outspoken chief executive Michael O’Leary has been a long-standing critic of the company.