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Saturday 10 December 2016

Taoiseach hints Aer Lingus sale decision made in next 2 weeks

aviation

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that a decision to sell the Government's stake in Aer Lingus could be made within two weeks.

Mr Kenny was speaking amid a flurry of expectation around a proposed €1.4bn bid.

"The Minister for Transport has been dealing with this in a very regular basis. He's not in a position yet to come to Government with a final recommendation and he said he would hope to be able to do that in the next couple of weeks," he said.

Despite the Taoiseach's comments, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe yesterday rejected claims that the Government's working group has submitted a report about the sale of Aer Lingus.

It has been reported that the Government's interdepartmental group of senior civil servants are close to issuing a recommendation to Mr Donohoe to sell the airline.

However, Mr Donohoe, speaking at an event in Dublin yesterday, said he has not yet received a final report.

"I have not received a final reports from the interdepartmental group. When I do receive them, they will then give me a basis to make my decision," he said.

suggestions

"I receive one report at the end of this process which I will then bring to cabinet. That will inform the decision I make. It will go to cabinet soon."

He said the commercial review of the value of the slots at Heathrow was not yet complete, despite some informed suggestions to the contrary.

"That work is ongoing at the moment and I will be receiving a report into that in the near future and we have always acknowledged and made clear that the value of the slots and their maintenance is a hugely important consideration of any bid," he said.

Mr Donohoe strongly defended the drawn-out process saying it is important to get it done right rather than done in a hurry.

Mr Donohoe, speaking at an event in Dublin, said: "Many people have sought to impose a timeline on me. We are the ones that have a case being put to us.

"Others are encouraging us to sell. We are going to act in the manner which is consistently with the long-term interests of Aer Lingus and the country. It is [more] important to do it right than do it in a hurry," he said.

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