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Aer Lingus chief voices confidence in IAG ownership structure

Aer Lingus chief executive Sean Doyle has declared that he shares IAG's confidence that its ownership structure is robust enough to survive Brexit.

Reacting to recent media reports questioning the parent group's ability to satisfy UK and EU ownership and control regulations, Doyle said during a briefing in Dublin on 17 January: "We have done our assessments and I absolutely share IAG's confidence."

Doyle says that draft legislation drawn up by the EU and UK "really understands the importance of the continuity of air travel" between the two.

Aer Lingus is, he stresses, "fully confident" it will be operating flights after 29 March, the scheduled date of the UK's exit from the EU.

Asked what impact he expected Brexit to have on the airline's feed traffic from the UK, Doyle said Aer Lingus was seeking to develop Dublin into a "great gateway to Europe". He also highlighted the "pace of economic development" in Ireland, to which he returned to take over the running of the airline earlier this month.

He asserts that Aer Lingus offers a "unique" experience and positioning on the transatlantic market.

Speaking at the same event, Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said the UK was Ireland's "bread and butter" tourism market and would remain so after Brexit.

He notes that – following a "blip" in British visitors in 2017, when sterling depreciated 20% versus the euro – spend by British tourists increased 3% in 2018 and visitor numbers rose 1%.

Neither Aer Lingus nor Ryanair has seen any impact from Brexit on passenger arrivals into Ireland from the UK, adds Gibbons.

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