Sources close to the ongoing negotiations between Aer Lingus and IAG say a deal could be imminent, as both groups meet to find a compromise over the Heathrow slots.
The largest remaining obstacle to an agreement - which the Aer Lingus board has approved - is about whether IAG are prepared to guarantee the continued use of the valuable Heathrow take-off and landing slots.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh has guaranteed the slots for five years but has been unwilling to budge on that time.
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
IAG has told Dublin Airport that any extension on that timeframe would have to be guaranteed to be commercially sound, something that Dublin cannot necessarily deliver on.
However, despite this apparent impasse, the Irish Times reports that the €1.4 billion deal could be set to go through soon. Shares went up by 4.3 per cent yesterday in the wake of the rumours.
IAG has met considerable resistance from concerned parties, including the Government, which owns a 25.1 per cent stake in the airline.
Workers' unions have also expressed concerns. Meanwhile Ryanair, which owns close to 30 per cent, has mostly given support to the deal.