Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington insists the airline intends to remain independent, following its rejection of a takeover bid by Ryanair.

Speaking to ATI, Barrington denied that he and chief executive Dermot Mannion were at odds on how to proceed.

"My position and Dermot's have been, and are, exactly the same," he says. "Dermot made the point that Aer Lingus is, and wants to remain, an independent airline - which I totally endorse and am fully supportive of."

He refutes claims that Aer Lingus is seeking to bring in 'white knight' shareholders to save the airline.

"That's not my intention," he says. "We're not going to do a merger with Air France-KLM. We're not going to do a merger with British Airways.

"Aer Lingus is going to remain an independent airline, but we're going to do our best to ensure that Ryanair doesn't continue to harass us as a 30% shareholder - which is not in the interests of Aer Lingus and is not in the interests of the other shareholders of the airline."

Takeover of Aer Lingus by Ryanair would, Barrington argues, lead to rises in air fares.

"If one airline controls more than 80% of the traffic in and out of Ireland, that is a monopoly by any standards," he says. "I studied economics - I've never seen a situation where a monopoly has not led to higher prices. It is the nature of the beast."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news