Ryanair appeal over Aer Lingus bid hit by court rejection in UK

EUROPE’S largest budget carrier, Ryanair, yesterday lost its appeal to block an investigation into its near-30 per cent stake in rival Aer Lingus.

The UK’s Court of Appeal ruled that it is within the jurisdiction of the Competition Commission (CC) to investigate Ryanair’s ownership.

The CC is investigating the case after the Office of Fair Trading ruled that the stake threatens competition in the UK airline market, and could lead to Ryanair being forced to reduce its golding.

Aer Lingus chairman, Colm Barrington, said he was delighted with the ruling and called it a “key milestone on the path toward Ryanair being required to divest its shareholding in Aer Lingus”.

Ryanair plans to take the rejection to the UK Supreme Court for review.

Meanwhile, Ryanair added two new board members yesterday to try and address the gender balance in its boardroom. Julie O’Neill, the former secretary general of the Irish Department of Transport, and Paypal exec Louise Phelan were welcomed to the firm yesterday.