Turkish Airlines may be a potential bidder for Aer Lingus, just days after rival Irish airline Ryanair made a surprise buyout bid, according to reports.
The Turkish national carrier is assessing Ireland’s 75-year-old former flag-carrier and is “very interested”, according to sources.
It is one of several international airlines looking at Aer Lingus, according to the report. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, which already owns a 3% stake, has long been cited in the media as a possible bidder for the Government’s 25% stake.
Turkish Airlines, which could only hold a 49% stake in Aer Lingus because it is based outside the EU, could buy the Government’s stake or form a partnership with another airline, said the sources.
Both Turkish Airlines and Etihad view Dublin as a potential hub through which passengers could be routed to the Far East and beyond, according to the report.
Aer Lingus declined to comment on the report and a spokesman at Turkish Airlines was not immediately available for comment.
Ryanair, the largest shareholder in Aer Lingus,
launched its third bid to take over its rival on Tuesday, saying it would offer €1.30 per share to secure at least 50% of the carrier.
The bid, which values Aer Lingus at €694m, would be subject to the approval of the European Commission, which in 2007 blocked an earlier bid by Ryanair on competition grounds.
The move by Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary also led to speculation that it was a ploy to flush out prospective buyers for Ryanair’s own 29% stake in Aer Lingus. Turkish Airlines recently pulled out of talks with Poland’s LOT to form a possible tie-up
.Source Irısh Examiner.