Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny’s late arrival to the debate over Aer Lingus’ tranfer from Shannon to Belfast has been somewhat over-shadowed by the annoncement by Aer Lingus that they have rejected RyanAir’s call for a Emergency General Meeting. Both stories also get an airing in this RTÉ report. It doesn’t change the fundamentals underpinning the decision though.. but whether any politician, our own local variety included, will articulate that case rather than following a locally populist, if non-sensical, line
remains to be seen seems unlikely. Update RTÉ and Irish Times reports to note.From the Irish Times report
The Aer Lingus board has rejected a request by major shareholder and rival Ryanair to hold an EGM over the decision to drop the Shannon to Heathrow route.
The airline said the resolutions put forward by the low-cost carrier’s chief executive would result in a breach of European Union and Irish competition law.
Aer Lingus chairman John Sharman, said it was a self-serving attempt by Ryanair to exert influence over the airline.
“Ryanair’s recent takeover bid in which it sought to acquire control of Aer Lingus was prohibited by the EU Commission on competition grounds. It is now seeking to circumvent this decision by exerting influence on Aer Lingus through its minority shareholding,” Mr Sharman said.
“As recently as June, Ryanair was ready to give up Aer Lingus Heathrow slots in an attempt to acquire control of Aer Lingus. Its recently expressed concern in relation to these slots therefore has no credibility.”
A Ryanair spokeswoman said: “We have no comment to make until we receive a reponse to our request to Aer Lingus.”
The [Transport] Minister [Noel Dempsey] said he had been taking legal advice on the issue and added that under company law Aer Lingus was not obliged to call an EGM at the behest of shareholders.
Mr Dempsey said the Government had accepted Aer Lingus’s decision and was focused on finding a replacement airline for Shannon.
He added that the Government’s 25 per cent stake in the airline was retained to ensure the airline did not dispose of Heathrow slots. However, it has no power to prevent management transferring those valuable slots to different bases.
“The Government has made its displeasure and disappointment known with Aer Lingus. We don’t regard it as being in line with Government policy in regional terms or aviation terms,” Mr Dempsey said.
“But I would not expect any Deputies or Senators in that region to be voting against or abstaining in relation to this matter.”
Who could he mean…