Ryanair, the World’s most hated airline, have been accused by Aer Lingus of deterring the likes of British Airways from taking a stake in the business because of Ryanair’s “poison-pill” shareholding in Ireland’s national airline.
The airline’s new chief executive, Christoph Mueller, said bosses of European carriers had cited Ryanair’s 29% ownership of the business as an obstacle to any deal. Potential investment partners in the loss-making airline include British Airways and US operator United Airlines, with whom it has strategic alliances.
“A minority shareholding from an alliance partner is restricted by Ryanair. The shareholding works as a poison pill,” he said. Mueller added that he had met Ryanair’s outspoken chief executive, Michael O’Leary, at an industry gathering but had yet to have a one-to-one encounter with his largest shareholder. Citing the example of Germany’s Lufthansa, which has invested in Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines, Mueller said a corporate tie-up with another airline was impossible while Ryanair stays on the share register.
“The fact that Ryanair is a shareholder is a limiting factor in attracting other airline shareholders in the framework of a global alliance,” he added.