Europe

Aer Lingus board 'willing to take £1bn IAG bid'

Aer Lingus Image copyright PA
Image caption The Irish government owns a quarter of Aer Lingus shares

The board of Aer Lingus has said it is willing to accept a takeover proposal worth about £1bn from British Airways owner, International Airlines Group.

The planned takeover of the airline is to be discussed by the Irish government at a cabinet meeting later.

The government owns a quarter of Aer Lingus shares and has the power to block the takeover bid by IAG.

IAG's main interest in the Irish airline is its 23 pairs of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow Airport.

Ryanair, as a major shareholder in Aer Lingus, would also have to be in agreement on the proposal.

If the deal is done, it could allow IAG to operate more lucrative long-haul flights from Heathrow.

That is worrying some politicians in the Republic of Ireland.

They fear it could mean regional airports like Cork will lose their Heathrow flights.

The Republic of Ireland's transport minister Paschal Donohoe said the issue of Heathrow would be crucial in any evaluation of the bid.

However, the government is unlikely to make a final decision on Tuesday.

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