Ryanair keeps pressure on Aer Lingus for payout

RYANAIR ramped up pressure on Aer Lingus yesterday, calling in an open letter for the airline to take “urgent action” to improve its share price.

Undeterred by Aer Lingus’ plan for a shareholder meeting announced yesterday, Ryanair penned its third open letter in the space of a month to ask for a €0.20 per share special dividend.

Ryanair, which holds a 29.8 per cent stake in Aer Lingus, has also asked the Irish airline to halt payments into its defined contribution pension scheme until shareholders give their approval.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary also repeated demands to see a report commissioned by Aer Lingus into a €30m (£26.3m) tax settlement.

Aer Lingus said yesterday that it will use a meeting on 4 November to seek approval from shareholders to cancel up to €500m in reserves, giving it flexibility to return cash to investors.

Shares in Aer Lingus, which have lost nearly half their value since the start of 2011, closed flat at €0.64 yesterday.