Ryanair says it will recognise trade unions if it takes over Aer Lingus.
Even if they did though, I’m not convinced a Ryanair takeover would be a good idea. It might be good for Aer Lingus, it would certainly be good for Ryanair, but is it good for Ireland?
Ryanair carries 43% of all scheduled passengers who fly between Dublin and London, the primary destination out of Dublin, and carries 45% of all passengers who fly out of Dublin. Following a takeover, the combined company would control more than 70% of Ireland’s shorthaul market.
That can’t be good news for an island.
Ryanair has also promised to reopen the Shannon/Heathrow route if it succeeds, and get rid of fuel surcharges.
But if Aer Lingus found the Shannon route didn’t pay, why would Ryanair – an infamously pennypinching company – reopen it?
Could it be to put pressure on the government which owns 28% of Aer Lingus and would face pressure from voters in the west to accept the Shannon deal?
Of course, there is one thing Michael O’Leary could do straight away to demonstrate his good intentions.
He could recognise the unions in his own company.
Over to you, Mick.
It might be good for Aer Lingus, it would certainly be good for Ryanair, but is it good for Ireland?
If the history of large-scale M&A deals is anything to go by, it would very likely be enormously good for whomever owns the shares of Aer Lingus, and a very bad thing for whomever owns the shares of Ryanair.
Whether it would be good for Ireland (beyond the premium Ireland would likely reap from selling the quarter of Aer Lingus it owns, assuming that one can equate “Ireland” with “the Irish state”) I cannot say. I will, however, note that a single firm enjoying a near-monopoly on IrelandGB flights, though immediately disastrous for travellers between those realms, could possibly call into existence a lean young firm prepared to offer the same services more competitively. Creative destruction and all that. Possibly something like that has even happened before.
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