Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive of Ryanair, has promised €99 fares ($125 dollars) across the Atlantic to and from America if he succeeds in winning a majority share in Aer Lingus.
Ryanaircurrently holds 29.4 percent share in the rival airline but his bid of $900 million for the whole airline is currently under review by the European Union monopolies commission. If Ryanair succeeds, Ireland would have only one major airline.
“Instead of having €200 fares across the Atlantic we will have €99 fares in the winter," he claimed.
"How many flights do you think you can fill going to the States for €99? Every single one of them," he told the Irish Independent newspaper.
He said he would retain the Aer Lingus brand which he has described as valuable. "We have no desire to take Aer Lingus and paint yellow harps on them. We need a two-airline brand strategy," he added.
Instead, he stated he would increase passenger numbers from 10 million to 15 million passengers a year by flying Aer Lingus into new airports across Europe.
He has said he will sell his Aer Lingus stock if the European Union votes against him.“If the commission turns down this remedies package then we would have to seriously consider exiting our investment in Aer Lingus,” O’Leary said.
Aer Lingus stock is up over 60 percent since the Ryanair bid emerged. O’Leary has stated that he will expand Aer Lingus from ten million to fifteen million passengers yearly and will not compete with them on existing routes.
O’Leary also claimed recent stories in Spain about the safety of Ryanair flights were a set up job.
"System-wide we had less than 100 safety incidents and all of these were routine. It is unusual to have ostensibly a European government leaking patently flawed stories to the Spanish newspapers."
He also stated his airline would never adopt laid back Google type work policies.
"We are not here for bean bags and pool tables. We have to work hard. It is the only way to get this thing done. That is how commoditised travel services work," he said. "As long as you give your customers a big price advantage they will go with you."