Report says US government to have say on sale of Aer Lingus

Etihad takes stake in Aer Lingus and could bid for control of airline

U.S. authorities can veto Irish government plans to sell its stake in national airline Aer Lingus to Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways. 

Shares in Aer Lingus have risen to over a dollar after news of the Etihad interest in the 25 percent shareholding broke last week.

The Sunday Independent newspaper reports that Etihad are interested in taking the government stake because of the presence of American immigration services at Dublin Airport.

If Etihad become Aer Lingus shareholders, they can fly passengers from the Middle East to Dublin where they would be pre-cleared by American immigration before continuing on to the U.S. - but that also allows the U.S. government to veto any deal.

Irish transport Minister Leo Varadkar has said that his cabinet will sell off its 25 percent shareholding once the share price reaches one Euro.

Aer Lingus shares closed at three quarters of that value on Friday.

The company has also written to shareholders seeking approval for the cancellation of up to $700 million of non-distributable reserves which would allow a special dividend and facilitate a sale of the State’s shareholding.


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