Michael O'Leary adamant carrier should be owned by Ryanair
Micheal O'Leary waded into the debate over the sale of Aer Lingus yesterday, saying he believed his airline should be the ultimate owner of the national carrier.
The Ryanair boss (inset) said it was the only way that Aer Lingus could stay managed from Ireland.
"I believe Aer Lingus should be owned over the longer term by Ryanair," he said.
"I think it's the only way to keep it controlled and managed here in Ireland.
"However, I've been unsuccessful on three separate occasions in persuading anybody of that.
"So if it's not going to be Ryanair, who do you want it to be?"
Referring to the Government's stake in Aer Lingus, he added: "If it's not going to be IAG, what exactly is it that you're holding your 25pc share for?
"Aer Lingus has no future as an independent airline. It's too small.
"Aer Lingus is in the wrong country to be strategic and it's too small - it's not able to compete with Ryanair here in the Irish marketplace.
"The only decision for the Government as a shareholder in the national interest is, who do you want Aer Lingus to be owned by?
"All the nonsense about slots and everything else, those decisions were made the day you sold off 75pc of the company."