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IHF Speaks Out Against Aer Lingus Deal

Published on Feb 3 2015 1:27 PM in General Industry

IHF Speaks Out Against Aer Lingus Deal

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) have expressed grave concerns over the potential sale to IAG, stating that there are "enormous implications" over the Heathrow slots. In a statement, IHF Preside...

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) have expressed grave concerns over the potential sale to IAG, stating that there are "enormous implications" over the Heathrow slots.

In a statement, IHF President Stephen McNally warned of the serious consequences facing Irish tourism if the Government fails to secure contractual rights to determine the use of Aer Lingus’ Heathrow slots as part of any potential sale of the State's interest in the airline.

IAG has attempted to allay the fears of critics of the sale (including the so-called 'Aer Lingus Seven' of Labour TDs) by announcing the 23 slot pairs at London Heathrow will not be sold. It has also announced that it is committed to operating the Heathrow slots for five years.

McNally, however, has rejected the temporary agreement as unacceptable, echoing the Government's recent commitment to obtaining a 'permanent and cast-iron guarantee' of connectivity to the Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports.

McNally urged the Government to safeguard these slots, stating that the Shannon and Cork slots were "crucial" to tourism in the south and west of Ireland.

“The loss of the slots would be detrimental for national tourism, business employment and the ability of the West and South regions to attract multi-national investment and sustain economic growth. Given the stakes involved, it is imperative that the Government use its shareholding to protect these valuable slots in the national interest. Any other course of action would be short-sighted,” he concluded.

The Government controls a 25.1 per cent share of Aer Lingus, and their acquiescence is essential to the proposed €1.4 billion deal at €2.55 per share. The Aer Lingus board have backed the offer, but faces strong opposition from Government TDs, IMPACT, shareholders and now IHF.

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