These threads always end up the same, a bit of research wouldn't hurt before commenting.
A few myths that crop up whenever this is mentioned;
Ireland is apparently too small for two carriers - If that were the case one or both of them would be loss making, this isn't the case. Aer Lingus is profitable and growing within its core Irish market and while Ryanair doesn't go into detail about what parts of its network is profitable I think we can safely assume they are profitable in Ireland. Neither airline needs the other in order to be profitable.
Aer Lingus is small, loss making, going nowhere ect. - Aer Lingus is a relatively small airline, that much is true but within its core Irish market they are huge, possibly even larger than Ryanair on the island of Ireland! Aer Lingus is profitable, reported an operating profit of EUR49.1 million in 2011 in a very challenging home market. Going nowhere? Aer Lingus plan to connect Ireland with the world, either with the their own metal or through partnerships which has seen them sign code share agreements with Etihad who have also expressed interest in purchasing a higher stake in the airline after acquiring 3% earlier this year. Aer Lingus also works with Aer Arann who now operate solely as Aer Lingus Regional under a franchise deal connecting regional points across the UK and Ireland to the Aer Lingus transatlantic network from Dublin. Not the plans of an airline with no direction.
The Irish airports - We have seen many occasions where Ryanair has a spat with an airport operator about costs and fees, this usually results in Ryanair pulling out, leaving the airport with very little business usually after investing a lot into Ryanair's services. Michael O'Leary has had a number of very public disagreements with the Irish government and its airports, it all but pulled out of Shannon a few years ago after a spat so a merged Ryanair/Aer Lingus would give this airline a complete stranglehold on the main airports with more than 80% of the traffic in some cases.
Other airlines could compete - Which airline in their right mind would want to compete with a combined Ryanair/Aer Lingus in their home market? As part of the remedies package proposed by Ryanair they offered FlyBe the option, they declined. British Airways was also an option but they've made no secret in the fact they only want the LHR
slots and their lack of commitment to the current DUB
route proves it, going from a much hyped 8 daily to 5/4 daily next summer, their cost base can't even compete with Aer Lingus from LHR
let alone Ryanair from DUB
. No other airline in Europe has the experience in fighting Ryanair head to head and no other airline has done it as successfully as Aer Lingus, allowing the two to merge removes that competition and still doesn't guarantee that another airline would be happy to enter the market. DUB
has a chance at seeing new airlines but airports such as Cork, Shannon and Knock are much smaller markets and have little hope of fresh competition should a take over happen.
The government should keep its nose out - Well as a 25% shareholder it has every right to keep its nose exactly where it is!
A take over would be "bye bye Aer Lingus" and although Ryanair still claims that the two airlines would remain sperate, as recently as this week it was revealed that Ryanair has signed a MOU with BA
to sell 80% of Aer Lingus LHR
being one of the strongest routes in their network with valuable onward connections for Ireland. I'm sure slots at JFK
were also up for grabs so Ryanair has pretty much revealed it's plans for Aer Lingus, closure. Ryanair gets a monopoly in Ireland, can stick two fingers up at the government and all the airlines everywhere ele get their hands on slots at hub airports.