Many critics of Ryanairs attempted takeover of Aer Lingus have been forecasting the negative consequences for Ireland if it goes ahead. one of the most important forecasts has been the likely sale of Aer Lingus' London Heathrow slots, which would deprive the nation of direct access to one of the most important hub airports in Europe.
This assertion has usually been met with derision or disbelief.
Well, Ryanair have finally come out and not just admitted this is their planned policy, but expect it to assuage all remaining objections to the takeover bid at EU level.
It's the kind of bizarre logic that only an airline touting stand-up passenger 'seating' could seriously propose.
Ryanairs bid price of 1.30 per Aer Lingus share values the company at 700 M euro.
Aer Lingus has 24 slot pairs at LHR. These slot pairs are currently changing hands for 31 to 37 million euro each. Let's call it an average of 35M euro.
Ryanair now admits their plan to sell 20 of these slots to BA/Flybe.
Total return - 700M euro. Ryanair thus pays 700M for EI, and trousers 700M euro of EI assets the next day. So they effectively get EI for free. Including a further 1BN in cash reserves.
In return the Irish traveling public get the choice of Ryanair to secondary UK airports, and 3 years more of access to LHR with BA, after which they will withdraw, and that will be the end of regular scheduled flights from Ireland to LHR.
And this is presented as a 'remedy' to guarantee competition?
Is anyone really taken by this? Anyone in favour of it?
By the way, if you doubt BA's intention to shift after 3 years (or even less) consider the fact that at present BA is being criticized for its lack of connectivity to China, the worlds fastest rising financial superpower.
Can you imagine BA sitting on its hands, pottering A320's between London and Dublin (a broke economy) when the very same slots could be used to send their brand new A380's to a bunch of booming cities in China?
Certainly not. The British Government would certainly have something to say about it.
This is the reality of the outcome of a Ryanair takeover. Now you see it. The only way off this island in 2016 may be the boat - or a monopoly Ryanair service to a second rate airport somewhere in Europe.
Just another retrograde step on the path to isolation and permanent stagnation of Irelands economy.