The pilots of Irish regional carrier Aer Arann voted last month by a 91-percent margin to initiate a pair of two-day strikes starting August 20. Plans called for the strikes to affect Aer Arann-coded flights and regional flights it operates on behalf of Aer Lingus.
Low-cost carrier Ryanair has said it will appeal the UK Competition Commission’s August 28 ruling that it must reduce its holding in Ireland’s Aer Lingus from 29.8 percent to 5 percent.
Aer Lingus Regional franchisee Aer Arann last month took delivery of the first of eight new ATR 72-600 turboprops it has ordered as part of a contract worth some $187 million. ATR has promised to deliver the final seven airplanes over the next 11 months, as Aer Arann removes from service its aging ATR 72-200s and 42-300s. The airline plans to keep its three ATR 72-500s.
Irish carrier Aer Arann took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft last Friday. The May 3 delivery marked the first of eight of the new -600 model that the airline has ordered to replace its existing fleet of ATR72-200s and smaller ATR42-300s.
Irish low-fare carrier Ryanair on Tuesday committed to buying 175 new Boeing 737-800NGs worth nearly $15.6 billion at current list prices. The deal, still subject to confirmation, supports Ryanair’s plan to expand the size of its uniform fleet of 737-800s from 305 to some 400 airplanes and serve more than 100 million passengers per year across Europe by the end of the delivery stream in 2018.
The European Commission’s August 29 decision to launch a full probe into Ryanair’s proposed takeover of Aer Lingus appears to mean that all bets are off in terms of the long-term ownership of the Irish flag carrier. Under stock market rules, Ryanair’s bid for a majority stake in Aer Lingus automatically expired with the move by regulators, who believe the resulting merger would prove anti-competitive.
Two years after entering bankruptcy protection, restructured Irish regional operator Aer Arann has embarked on a fleet-replacement program. Last month it neared a resolution to negotiations to acquire eight ATR 72-600s, reflecting expectations for rejuvenation of a business that has fought valiantly to escape the ravages of the Irish economic collapse.
The board of Irish airline Aer Lingus has urged shareholders to ignore the latest takeover bid mounted by low-cost rival Ryanair. Under Irish law, the board of the former government-owned flag carrier had until the end of July to respond to Ryanair’s July 17 bid to buy remaining stock at €1.30 ($1.60) per share, valuing the company at €694 million ($833 million).
As part of its planned expansion in Europe, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways intends to increase its ownership stake in Air Berlin to 29 percent, a move that would make it the largest single shareholder in Germany’s second largest airline.
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