O'Leary hopeful in takeover bid

By Irish Echo Staff

Michael O'Leary is hoping regulators will make a "positive decision" by the end of February with regard to Ryanair's bid to buy Aer Lingus.

"We've submitted a very radical package of remedies," the Ryanir chief executive said in an interview.

"It's a question of spending time trying to tweak the remedies so we ensure we address all the (European Commission) commission's competition concerns and come out with the best deal for Irish consumers and visitors," he said.

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Ryanair already owns just under 30 percent of Aer Lingus and is bidding to take a majority controlling interest. The fate of the bid is in the hand of EU officials.

The €694 million bid has raised objections from Aer Lingus and and the Irish government which owns 25 percent of the former Irish national carrier.

Ryanair has stated that it could drop all 46 Dublin routes that overlap with Aer Lingus and that several rival carriers are interested in competing for at Irish airports.

Meanwhile, Ryanair is closing in on a deal to buy at least 150 Boeing 737 passenger jets and the contract could be signed within weeks. Most or all of the planes would likely be current generation 737s which would allow Ryanair to secure a significant discount on the list price, the Irish Independent, quoting "sources," reported.

A Ryanair spokesman said later that the discount airline was in the market for 100-200 planes.