There’s been a lot of attention lately to the possible sale of Irish airlines Aer Lingues to International Consolidated Airlines Group, or IAG.
At issue is whether the Republic of Ireland sells its 25.1 percent share of the airline, best know for the iconic green shamrock on the tail wing. IAG has said it wants state approval for the deal.
“There is, however, another scenario: IAG could still pick up the remaining 74.9 percent of the airline,” The Irish Times reported 7 February. “The institutional shareholders are said to be happy with the price, while many of the retail shareholders stand to gain handsomely.”
The proposed deal is said to be worth 1.36 billion euro ($1.5 billion).
Doubts about whether IAG keeps current employment rates at the airline and maintains popular routes to England’s Heathrow are making Irish politicians nervous ahead of 2016 elections. “If IAG are going to do something they have to do it very quickly if the entrenched positions people have been forced to take are to be unwound,” a senior government source told Reuters.
Herald.ie notes that although Aer Lingus is technically no longer the national airline, “the average Irishman and woman has an extraordinary attachment to it.” The editorial continues:
Aer Lingus was one of the first success stories of the fledgling Irish state. It remains a source of national pride and identity. Despite the proliferation in recent times of budget airlines, many of us still prefer to fly with our one-time national carrier – as Aer Lingus passenger numbers indicate.
Aer Lingus was founded by the Irish government in 1936 to provide air services between Ireland and the UK, according to this company history. The first transatlantic service to New York began in 1958.
The name Aer Lingus translates as “Air Fleet” from the Irish word for “long,” as meaning a “ship.” Here’s a four-part history produced for the airline’s 75th anniversary in 2011. Each segment runs seven minutes: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; and Part 4.
And here’s more history from the Historical Aviation Society of Ireland, compiled five years before the 75th anniversary.
In other aviation news, Icelandic budget airline WOW announced new routes between Dublin and Boston and Washington, D.C., with stops in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. Flights begin in October and will take 12 to 13 hours, including the stopover.
The D.C. flights will use Baltimore-Washington Airport, not Dulles or Reagan. Depending on traffic and mode of transportation, that’s about 45 minutes to 90 minutes from the heart of D.C.