IAG issued a statement on Aer Lingus yesterday, Monday 2nd February, in which it offered “legally binding commitments that go well beyond protections currently available to the Irish government”, but no reference was made to employment numbers.
The commitments would ensure that, unless there is explicit Irish government agreement, Aer Lingus’s 23 slot pairs at London Heathrow cannot be sold, including to other IAG airlines, and that IAG will operate the slots on Irish routes for five years.
In addition, Aer Lingus’s name, head office location or place of incorporation in the Republic of Ireland, cannot be changed. Aer Lingus would operate as a separate business, with its own brand, management and operations, and would join Oneworld, as well as the joint transatlantic IAG / American Airlines agreement.
Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive, said: “We are committed to maintaining and strengthening Aer Lingus. We want to develop air services that ensure Ireland’s connectivity is enhanced. In seeking the support of the Irish Government, we propose to offer it legally binding commitments that go well beyond the protections currently available to it. These commitments would give the Irish Government an important role that they do not have today in securing the future of Aer Lingus.”