Julian Bray writes: According to sources in Dublin, the Irish airline - 25% Government owned - Aer Lingus, is set to go ahead with an agreed takeover offer from IAG GROUP who own British Airways and Iberia, the Spanish carrier, but code shares with BA.
The latest offer is around €2.50 (£1.87) per share. The longform approval process could be completed within a matter of days. Frankly if Aer Lingus was still flying Tiger Moths and Dakotas, the offer still makes financial sense in aviation terms, as the value is tied up in the astronomical value placed in one take off and one landing which when paired are termed slots. No slots, no flights, it really is as simple as that! British Caledonian was taken over by BA simply to acquire the slots, the B-CAL airline soon dismantled and forgotten. As was BMI.
The current market price for a SINGLE SLOT non shoulder time ie a pair or 'slot' is around $30 million, but when a strategic package of slots come on the market, it becomes a sellers market and any number is possible. There is also an outside chance that another major carrier could launch a rival bid at the eleventh hour. Its all about the slots!
The Aer Lingus table value is circa €1.3bn (£971m), but IAG Chief Willie Walsh will face opposition from Ryanair who are sitting on a 29.8% stake and possibly the Irish Government with its 25% stake. They will seek to add an additional premium to the slot package value.
Aer Lingus is ranked behind BA, Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic at London Heathrow. Willie Walsh, knows the target airline inside out. He was the Aer Lingus boss for a few years from 2001/5 then decamped to BA as chief executive. If it goes ahead its bad news for staff in all three airlines and aircraft manufacturers, as staff consolidations and aircraft order reductions will certainly be on the cards, and quickly once the deal goes through.
JULIAN BRAY 01733 345581, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN 01733 345020 SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe > Updates are on the Website