Ireland’s government is seeking better terms from IAG before surrendering its shareholding in flag-carrier Aer Lingus.
Irish transport minister Paschal Donohoe says that IAG’s proposals “do not at present provide a basis” on which the government could give an “irrevocable commitment” to dispose of its 25% stake.
He acknowledges IAG’s proposal for legally-binding guarantees on the airline’s London Heathrow slots, but indicates that the five-year commitment from IAG is too short.
“The government requires a longer period,” says the minister in a statement.
Donohoe is also seeking clarity on employment security at the airline. While IAG has put forward “encouraging” indications about creating new jobs for pilots and engineers, he says, there would probably be a degree of rationalisation at Aer Lingus. The timeframe for additional employment is also uncertain.
The government, says Donohoe, needs “firm commitments and details” on IAG’s suggestions that it would explore opportunities to expand at airports other than Dublin – notably Shannon, Cork and Knock.
While IAG has secured the backing of Aer Lingus for a potential acquisition, it has been trying to convince the Irish government to give up its shareholding in the carrier.
Donohoe says the government “remains open to considering any improved proposal” put forward by IAG.