Aer Lingus's "strong presence in the UK regions" has been identified by IAG as a factor in the group's decision to pursue the Irish flag carrier.

Speaking to analysts a day after the Irish government accepted IAG's offer for its shares in Aer Lingus, group chief Willie Walsh said the Irish carrier have given Dublin a "strong presence" in terms of connections to the UK's regions and that a merger would provide "opportunities" to serve existing IAG customers currently transferring through Dublin.

The IAG chief also sees "opportunities" to expand Aer Lingus's transatlantic network. "We believe Ireland is a very attractive market, not just point-to-point, but across connections with [our] Latin network and transatlantic," says Walsh, whose group already owns British Airways and Spanish airlines Iberia and Vueling.

Dublin is the sixth-largest transatlantic hub in Europe, says Walsh, and "very much complements" IAG's transatlantic business. He notes "significant growth in recent years" in transfer traffic from the UK and “transcontinental" benefits.

Source: Cirium Dashboard